Friday August 21, 2015
Carbon capture is an idea that’s been around for a while, but it’s always seemed like a bit of an afterthought, a way to slightly slow the pace at which we’re pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. But what if we could do at a scale that would suck all the carbon we’ve emitted since the industrial revolution right out out of the atmosphere, and turn it into something incredibly useful?
This is the claim being made by Stuart Licht, a professor of chemistry at George Washington University, who earlier this month published a paper in Nano Letters demonstrating a method of turning atmospheric carbon dioxide into solid carbon using concentrated solar power, with only oxygen as the byproduct. The process, called Solar Thermal Electrochemical Photo (STEP) carbon capture, is highly efficient, as it uses both the visible light and heat of the concentrated solar radiation.