An anonymous reader writes: While climate change talks progress on how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, an interdisciplinary team of scientists have worked out a way to reduce carbon dioxide already existing in the atmosphere. The focus is on the batteries used by electric automobiles. Researchers have found out that the graphite electrodes in the lithium-ion batteries could be replaced with carbon electrodes sourced from atmospheric carbon dioxide. The experiment started with the use of a solar-thermal electrochemical process (STEP) to convert carbon dioxide into carbon. STEP uses solar energy as the source of the thermal and electrical energy required for the dissolution of the atmospheric carbon dioxide to its constituent elements -- carbon and oxygen. The team then used the carbon generated to create carbon nanotubes/nanofibers. They then incorporated these carbon nanotubes into lithium-ion batteries by using them as the positive electrode or anode. While the carbon is used in the manufacture of carbon nanotubes, the oxygen is channeled back to the generator to boost the combustion efficiency of the generator. The increased efficiency will balance the electricity consumption of STEP. In the end, the fossil fuel electrical power plant could have zero net carbon dioxide emissions.
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