Researchers have developed an efficient process to convert carbon dioxide into stable formate, a liquid or solid material that can be used as a fuel for generating electricity.

The process achieves a conversion of well over 90 percent, eliminating the need for inefficient heating steps in the conversion process.

The formate produced is stable and can be stored in ordinary steel tanks for extended periods, remaining highly stable with little to no loss.

The process involves alkaline solution-based capture of carbon dioxide and electrochemical conversion into solid formate crystals with a carbon efficiency of greater than 96 percent.

The researchers overcame challenges related to maintaining a steady pH balance and preventing unwanted side reactions during the conversion process.

A specially optimized fuel cell can use the stored formate particles dissolved in water to produce electricity, offering a viable alternative to hydrogen-based systems.

The formate fuel can be utilized for household applications, industrial uses, or grid-scale storage systems, offering a promising solution for emissions-free heat and power.

The authors have demonstrated enhanced efficiency in liquid-to-liquid conversion from bicarbonate feedstock to formate, and have demonstrated these fuels can be used later to produce electricity,” he says.

The work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.

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