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Upcycling waste carbon

Daria Perevezentsev / University of Toronto Engineering

Using AI researchers in North America have discovered a material that aids the conversion of carbon dioxide into an ingredient used to make everyday products.

A collaborative effort between the University of Toronto Engineering and Carnegie Mellon University, the scientists achieved the breakthrough by using electrolyzers to convert the waste CO2 into ethylene, something valuable in the production of plastics, dishwasher detergent and a host of other items.

“Using clean electricity to convert CO2 into ethylene, which has a $60 billion global market, can improve the economics of both carbon capture and clean energy storage,” said Professor Ted Sargent, one of the senior authors on a new paper published today in Nature.

Next, the team plans to explore ways to cut the ‘overall voltage required for the reaction’ and also reduce the amount of side products generated as these are expensive to separate.

Meanwhile, a new tool developed in England by the Farnham Repair Café via a collaboration with the University for the Creative Arts, called Repair Cafe Carbon Calculator, is believed to be the world’s first digital tool for reporting CO2 emission savings resulting from repaired goods. Check it out.

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Susan Robertson
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Susan is the co-founder of Innovators Magazine and a consultant for OnePoint5 Media. Susan is also a member of the UNFCCC-led Resilience Frontiers Nexus group and co-chair of the APOPO Foundation UK board.

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