According to a recent research project, manufacturing carbon nanofibers from the CO2 in the air is now very much possible through the use of a solar powered device and it could make all the difference to the environment.
Extracting the CO2 from the atmosphere is an ideal method of reducing the pollution levels of the environment, but putting that CO2 to good use as well, all with the help of solar power seems like quite an utopian solution to the issues of climate change.
Well, thanks to George Washington University’s Professor Stuart Licht such a method is now actually possible and it might be the key to reducing the CO2 levels in the atmosphere.
Naturally, the entire system is in need of further improvement before it could be put to mass use, but it is clearly the first step towards finding a solution to the carbon problem.
Carbon nanofibers are extremely useful to the scientific community, as they can be used in a wide variety of technology development processes and they are quite difficult to obtain. Prof. Licht’s method implies the use of a solar powered device that runs energy through a lithium carbonate base and creates the carbon nanofibers at one of the device’s electrodes.
The nanofibers are created from the exchange between the lithium carbonate and the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Thus, the nanofibers are created out of carbon and the lithium oxide produced can be used for further reactions.
The device envisioned by Prof. Licht can produce up to 10g or carbon nanofibers in one hour of activity. Once the device is adapted to mass use, the performance rate will be greatly increased, so that it could be even more effective.
Aside from being “a reasonable path to bring down CO2 levels in the atmosphere”, as Prof. Licht points out, this new method of obtaining the material also offers a much more cost effective means of obtaining the carbon nanofibers. According to Prof. Licht, the price of these nanofibers could be reduced from its current rate of $25,000/ton of nanofibers to a mere $1,000.
There is however a significant drawback to this amazing process, that will hopefully be overcome in the future. As it is, the device can only produce nanofibers that are limited in length and that might prove to be too short for being used in technology. Prof. Licht and his team of researchers need to work on improving this part of their technique, before it could be used as a viable and cost-effective solution of obtaining the carbon nanofibers.
It remains to be seen how Prof. Licht’s technique can be improved and how it could be integrated in upcoming technologies for putting the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to good use, but we will definitely be hearing a lot more about this method because its potential in the fight against climate change is enormous.
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