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MIT 'verdox' effortlessly captures and removes carbon dioxide using electricity

Electrically removing captured carbon dioxide with verdox

 

MIT researchers capture and remove carbon dioxide from the air using Verdox, an electricity-based device that helps clean carbon emissions. While most carbon removal devices capture carbon from an exhaust flow or air itself, which requires a lot of energy, Verdox – led by the MIT team Sahag Voskian and T. Alan Hatton – uses electrochemistry to capture carbon almost effortlessly.

 

The invention is kind of a battery that naturally attracts carbon dioxide under certain conditions and does not do anything when these conditions are not triggered. When a low-level electric current flows in the device, the battery charges and the carbon dioxide that goes inside rises to the surface. When the battery becomes saturated, the carbon dioxide can be released as gas. The team is now planning to commercialize their device to help ease climate change.

MIT Verdox captures carbon
image courtesy of Hatton Lab

 

 

Verdox makes it easier to release trapped carbon dioxide

 

Verdox compares traditional carbon capture systems to sponges since when carbon dioxide comes in contact with the capture material, it is soaked up and trapped inside the structure. ‘The CO₂ is then squeezed out in the release process by applying large amounts of heat. This process uses vast amounts of energy and is therefore difficult to scale,’ the team writes.

 

With their electric carbon removal, the Verdox team makes it easier to both soak up the carbon dioxide and squeeze it back out. The design of our capture devices allows for gases to flow through with less resistance, making the soaking process more efficient. ‘Instead of squeezing out the CO₂ with heat, we also only apply a specific voltage to the capture material to release the CO₂. This radically different approach allows for far more efficient capture and release of CO₂ using only electricity, and the need for heat or water,’ the team writes.

MIT Verdox captures carbon
images courtesy of Verdox

 

 

Captured carbon dioxide to be released in caverns

 

Verdox is also developing systems that can efficiently pull carbon dioxide out of ambient air. The concept design is looking into units that would look like rows and rows of big fans ‘that bring the air into boxes containing our batteries,’ the team says. The approach could be useful in locations such as airfields, where there are higher-than-normal concentrations of CO2 emissions present.

 

The team has also investigated where the captured carbon should be disposed and has partnered with Carbfix, which has a decade-old method for mineralizing captured CO2 and depositing it in deep underground caverns. In this way, Verdox will have a final resting place for CO2 that cannot immediately be reused for industrial applications such as new fuels or construction materials.

MIT Verdox captures carbon
carbon capture simulation

MIT Verdox captures carbon
carbon release

MIT Verdox captures carbon
carbon removal using electricity

mit-verdox-carbon-removal-designboom-1800

MIT Verdox captures and removes carbon using electricity

 

project info:

 

name: Verdox carbon removal device

company: Verdox

institution: MIT

team: Sahag Voskian, T. Alan Hatton

CARBON NEUTRALITY? (109)

CLIMATE CHANGE (121)

MIT MEDIA LAB (53)

MIT NEWS (62)

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