Electrified charcoal sponge can soak up CO2 directly from the air

Scientists say that charging electrified charcoal is a cost-effective, energy-efficient way of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the air.

The research, published in the journal Nature, comes as scientists look to find novel ways of cutting emissions which contribute to global warming.

Researchers have labelled capturing CO2 from the air as a “last resort”, but said given the climate emergency it needed to be investigated.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge used a method similar to charging a battery to charge the activated charcoal, which is often used in household water filters to remove contaminants.

Dr Alexander Forse, who led the study, said: “Given the scale of the climate emergency, it’s something we need to investigate.”


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The charged charcoal sponge required lower temperatures to remove the captured CO2 so it could be stored, making it potentially more energy-efficient than current methods, researchers found.

Forse added: “The first and most urgent thing we’ve got to do is reduce carbon emissions worldwide.

“But greenhouse gas removal is also thought to be necessary to achieve net zero emissions and limit the worst effects of climate change,” he continued.

“Realistically, we’ve got to do everything we can. This approach opens a door to making all kinds of materials for different applications, in a way that’s simple and energy-efficient.”

One challenge to the method was working how to increase of the levels of CO2 captured.

Last month, it was revealed the government was looking at new options for CO2 transportation.

Climate crisisInnovationNet zeroNews

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