A New Solar Carbon Capture Process: Solar Thermal Electrochemical Photo (STEP) Carbon Capture
S.L. designed the STEP carbon capture process, and together with B.W. conducted and analyzed the electrolysis and solar experiments. S.G., H.A., and J.G. participated in the initial phases (with molten eutectic, rather pure Li2CO3, experiments), and D.J. and H.A., under the direction of S.L., are continuing experiments.
The first experimental evidence of a new solar process, combining electronic and chemical pathways, to isolate CO2 (carbon capture) is presented. This solar thermal electrochemical photo (STEP) process is a synergy of solid-state and solar thermal processes, and is fundamentally capable of converting more solar energy than photovoltaic or solar thermal processes alone.
Here, CO2 is captured using a 750âˆ’950 Â°C electrolysis cell powered by a full spectrum solar simulator in a single step. The process uses the full spectrum; solar thermal energy decreases the energy required for carbon capture, while visible sunlight generates electronic charge to drive the electrolysis. CO2 can be captured from 34% to over 50% solar energy efficiency (depending on the level of solar heat inclusion), as solid carbon and stored, or used as carbon monoxide to be available for a feedstock to synthesize (with STEP generated hydrogen) solar diesel fuel, synthetic jet fuel, or chemical production.
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