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Current Affairs

New way to extract and store CO2 from vehicle exhaust

Date: 28 December 2019 Tags: Climate Change

Issue

Scientists in Switzerland have come up with a new technology where the carbon dioxide from vehicle exhaust is collected and stored in liquified form on vehicle roofs and later converted back to conventional fuel using renewable energy.

 

Background

Transportation is responsible for about 30 per cent of the total CO2 emissions in Europe, out of which 70 per cent originates from road-going vehicles.

 

Details

Scientists have combined several technologies to capture CO2 and convert it from a gas to a liquid in a process that recovers most of the energy available onboard, such as heat from the engine.

 

Mechanism

  • First, the vehicle's flue gases in the exhaust pipe are cooled down and the water is separated from the gases.

  • CO2 is isolated from the other gases (nitrogen and oxygen) with a temperature swing adsorption system, using metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) adsorbent, which is specially designed to absorb CO2.

  • Once the material is saturated with CO2, it is heated so that pure CO2 can be extracted from it.

  • High-speed turbocompressors then use heat from the vehicle's engine to compress the extracted CO2 and turn it into a liquid.

  • That liquid is stored in a tank and can then be converted back into conventional fuel at the service stations using renewable electricity.

Advantages

  • The system could theoretically work with all trucks, buses and even boats, and with any type of fuel.

  • The other advantage of this system is that, unlike electric or hydrogen-based ones, it can be retrofitted to existing vehicles in order to neutralize their impact in terms of carbon emissions.

  • The weight of the capsule and the tank is only 7 percent of the vehicle's payload, which does not impact its load carrying capacity.