A new type of battery made of lithium, carbon and electrolyte was developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). They may be partly made up of waste CO2 from thermal power plants.
Currently, TPPs equipped with capture systems have to spend up to 30% of the energy they generate for the operation of these systems. MIT scientists decided to lower this figure. However, this is not easy to achieve. To activate carbon dioxide (CO2) during an electrochemical reaction, a large amount of energy is required, which generally makes the process ineffective.
Recently, engineers have become interested in CO2-based lithium battery technologies that use it as a reagent. The problem is that the low reactivity of CO2 had to be compensated for by using metal catalysts, which are quite expensive and difficult to control the reaction.
By liquefying the gas, the MIT researchers eventually achieved the electrochemical conversion of CO2 using only a carbon electrode. The key to solving the problem is to pre-activate the carbon dioxide by mixing it with an amine solution.