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Researchers Work to Convert CO2 to Black Powder

Monday, March 30, 2020

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Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Karlsruhe, Germany) are currently involved in a project that’s building a test facility for the active reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

This facility would convert CO2 into pure carbon black powder as part of a Negative Carbon Dioxide to Carbon (NECOC) research project.

The Project

The point of the project is not only to create carbon black powder, but it’s also to remove some CO2 from the air in the process.

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Researchers t Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Karlsruhe, Germany) are currently involved in a project that’s building a test facility for the active reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

“Our project approach consists of removing CO2 from the atmosphere and converting it into carbon black, i.e. highly pure carbon in powder form,” said Professor Thomas Wetzel of the Institute of Thermal Process Engineering (TVT) and Head of the KALLA Karlsruhe Liquid Metal Laboratory of the Institute for Thermal Energy Technology and Safety.

“In this way, a hazardous greenhouse gas will be converted into a raw material for high-tech applications. Carbon black can be used in electronics, printing, or construction.”

The facility will combine the following steps:

  • By means of an adsorber, the CO2 is first captured from ambient air;
  • Together with renewable hydrogen, it is then converted into methane and water in a microstructured reactor;
  • the methane produced serves as a carbon carrier in the downstream process and is passed into a bubble reactor filled with liquid tin;
  • In the ascending methane bubbles, a pyrolysis reaction takes place, by means of which methane is decomposed into its constituents (hydrogen and solid carbon);
  • the hydrogen is directly fed back to methanation; and
  • the solid carbon is then in the form of microgranular powder, i.e. carbon black.

“We know the individual modules well,” said Benjamin Dietrich (TVT), project coordinator of NECOC.

”However, they have never been realized together in an integrated facility so far. This is the first time worldwide. Skillful integration of the process modules and correct process conduct will be decisive for the energy efficiency of the process and the quality of the carbon black product.

 “Solid carbon is far less difficult to handle than CO2 and can even be used as a resource. So far, carbon black has been produced mainly from fossil petroleum. That is why our process represents a technological approach for a sustainable future in several respects. It combines the direct contribution to solving the climate problem with a process for post-fossil resource supply.”

The project is scheduled to take three years and is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy at 1.5 million euros ($1.65 million).


Tagged categories: Carbon dioxide; Coatings Technology; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Emissions; EU; Pigments; Powder Coatings; Research and development

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (3/30/2020, 8:32 AM)

Would be far more cost effective and less energy intensive to simply not burn the carbon (coal) in the first place.

Comment from Michael Halliwell, (3/30/2020, 10:58 AM)

Oh good....carbon black, not black powder. The former is powdered carbon, the latter is the propellant used in black powder firearms and cannons. I was really wondering about the demand for black powder being sufficient to fund such a project, but carbon black certainly makes more sense.

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