Researchers at the MIT have been working to develop a new type of battery which can be made partly from the carbon dioxide emitted from the power plants. The battery, when discharges, can convert the emitted carbon dioxide into a solid mineral carbonate instead of converting it to a specific chemical using metal catalysts. The battery is made from the lithium metal, carbon, and an electrolyte. The battery can also help to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions as it can trim down the carbon dioxide conversion reaction in the power plants. The developers have found an approach to use the waste stream of power plants to make one of the main components of the battery.
Power plants use one-third of their generated electricity to power the storage and release of carbon dioxide. The new battery can use this carbon dioxide which can significantly reduce the cost of capture process for power plants. The carbon dioxide released from the power plants could be used to make the carbon-dioxide-loaded electrolytes which are one of the three components of the battery. The captured gas could be used to provide a power output upon the discharge of the battery.
Carbon dioxide is not very reactive, so it is imperative to find a new reaction pathway. The low reactivity of carbon requires a metal catalyst so that the gas could be used as a reactant upon the discharge of the battery. The method can be very expensive and the reactions are also very difficult to keep under control. The researchers at MIT have found the way to use the emitted carbon dioxide as an amine solution to achieve an electrolyte carbon dioxide conversion. A series of experiments have been done to verify that the lithium-carbon dioxide batteries can replace the lithium-gas batteries in terms of capacity and voltage.
This project is in its preliminary stages, and it could take years before its commercial deployment. This battery could open up new avenues for power plants as it is both an economically and environmentally viable option.