Transformative Carbon XPrize technological advance in CO2 utilization

(Nanowerk News) Mitigation of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide advanced on July 26, 2019 when the first flue gas from the natural gas power plant, the Shepard Energy Centre, was directly transformed by the C2CNT process into carbon nanotubes.
In a related new study in the Journal of CO2 Utilization ("Exploration of alkali cation variation on the synthesis of carbon nanotubes by electrolysis of CO2 in molten carbonates") new developments of the transformation are reported including use of a nickel super-alloy electrode, critical thermal balance of the process, demonstration of the secondary pure, hot oxygen product, and alkali control of the carbon nanotube structure. Elevated atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas CO2 are at a record 415 ppm, continue to rise, and are harming life across the planet.
Direct, high yield, low energy, carbon negative transformation of carbon dioxide into the strongest material known, carbon nanotubes, is of importance as it incentivizes its consumption into a useful, stable product, to bypass the need for carbon levies or taxes and lower release of this global warming gas into the environment.
The C2CNT process splits carbon dioxide by application of electricity between two electrodes (electrolysis) into pure carbon nanotubes and pure oxygen components. Carbon dioxide is absorbed like a sponge in a liquid alkali carbonate electrolyte, and is absorbed by bubbling either flue gas or air (without the need for pre-concentration of the carbon dioxide).
The C2CNT process to convert flue gas into carbon nanotubes
The C2CNT process is a new, high yield chemistry that splits the greenhouse gas CO2 into carbon nanotubes and oxygen. (Image: S. Licht, C2CNT)
The absorption of carbon dioxide into the electrolyte creates heat. The process is self-heating and the carbonate electrolyte is continuously renewed by the addition of carbon dioxide. The carbon nanotubes consist of concentric graphene cylinders, as exemplified in the new study in Journal of CO2 Utilization.
Examples of the carbon nanotubes in the study “Exploration of alkali cation variation on the synthesis of carbon nanotubes by electrolysis of CO2 in molten carbonates” are shown below.
Carbon nanotubes
Carbon nanotubes grown by C2CNT directly from carbon dioxide (SEM and TEM imaging). Right. The carbon nanotube wall showing the cylindrical layers of graphene comprised of individual carbons. (Image: S. Licht, C2CNT) (click on image to enlarge)
As previously reported as “Diamonds from the sky” by the C2CNT research led by Prof. Stuart Licht, the carbon nanotube product is useful in the production of highest strength structural and packaging materials, batteries, catalysts and may be readily doped to form useful electronic materials.
The carbon nanotubes are valued at over $100,000 per tonne, which for example is a thousand fold greater than coal. The generated pure oxygen product, while less valuable than the carbon nanotubes is useful in a variety of industrial processes including oxyfuel combustion and glass production.
C2CNT is one of five Carbon XPrize Finalist teams in the $10 million international competition to produce the most valuable product from 2 to 4 tonne daily of the carbon dioxide from the flue gas of the natural gas power plant at the Shepard Energy Centre in Calgary as detailed at The Testing & Certification phase of the competition will be completed in June 2020.
Source: C2CNT
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