Scientists from Oregon State University (in collaboration with the Argonne National Laboratory, the University of South Florida and the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Oregon) discovered an innovative way of taking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and using it to make a high-value material for use in energy storage products.
The scientists developed a chemical reaction which uses carbon dioxide and results in nanoporous graphene, with an enormous specific surface area. The researchers say this method is fast and low-cost, and the result exhibits great conductivity and density. These traits make it especially suited for use in supercapacitors, even at commercial levels.
The chemical reaction in this study used a mixture of magnesium and zinc metals, heated to a high temperature in the presence of a flow of carbon dioxide to produce a controlled metallothermic reaction. The reaction converted the elements into their metal oxides and nanoporous graphene. The metal oxides could later be recycled back into their metallic forms to make an industrial process more efficient. While other methods of making nanoporous graphene often use corrosive and toxic chemicals, this method is environmentally friendly.
The scientists view this as an innovation that might not save us from global warming, but might provide an environmentally friendly, cost-efficient way to make graphene supercapacitors that both store and release energy quickly, and can be used in a multitude of commercial applications like heavy industry, biomedical devices, hybrid electric cars, water treatment systems and more.