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New energies 11/05/2020

The Artificial Jellyfish That Captures Carbon

Part of what makes carbon capture such an exciting new field are the variety of different methods with the potential of pulling harmful emissions out of the atmosphere.

One such technology was recently revealed by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the City University of Hong Kong in the peer-reviewed journal Energy & Environmental Science: a new wave energy device that simultaneously creates energy while reducing carbon. 

  • Considered a sort of “artificial jellyfish,” the system uses the mechanical energy of ocean waves to convert carbon into a liquid fuel, thereby reducing emissions.  
  • While most similar machines transfer electricity directly to land through a cable, the carbon-cum-liquid fuel, called formic acid, is created on site and is easy to store and transport. 
  • The new device is so lightweight, it can float on the surface of water or rest on marine floors without damaging any wildlife.  
  • The researchers found the technology was more efficient at converting energy than it’s traditional counterparts. 

Previously, man-made formic acid was hard to come by. But in recent years, scientists have been exploring this fuel source as a storage option for hydrogen. Formic acid is usually made from methanol, a fossil fuel. This new device could not only make the production of formic acid much cleaner but, in doing so, also greatly contribute to finding new efficiencies in the energy transition.