Dutch scientists have developed a new way of generating electricity from waste carbon dioxide emitted by power stations.
According to the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Water Technology, this ground breaking new method could produce 1,570 kilowatts of electricity per year.
Recycling waste into energy
The process sees water and other liquids mixed with combustion gas comprising a high concentration of carbon dioxide that is pumped between two membranes. This produces an electric current.
According to a paper in the American Chemical Society’s journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, the method utilises waste gases from power stations and industrial smoke stacks in order to generate electricity.
The scientists noted that annually, over 12 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide are created from coal, oil and natural gas power stations. Furthermore, home and commercial heating systems generate another 11 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas.
Bert Hamelers, a programme director at the centre, pointed out that the electricity generated using the new method would not produce any carbon dioxide.
Speaking to NBC News, he commented: “You use the energy that is now wasted.
“You bring it in and get the extra energy out, but you cannot sequester it.”
Scientists hope it could provide an alternative to current power plants
While the technology is not yet ready for commercial use, its creators are hoping it could be an alternative to expanding current power plants as demand for electricity shoots up.
Currently it is a proof-of-concept technique, and at the moment the process uses more energy than it produces. However, the membrane-focused method proposed by the scientists would see the ‘real’ technology use less energy.