Our New Frenemy: The CO2 Battery

A new CO2 battery has entered the energy market. Yes, you did read that right, a CO2 battery. and it might be just what wind turbines are looking for to help them harness the full force of the wind. Carbon dioxide is used in the technology to store heat and pressure energy. It’s an easy fix that allows the CO2 battery more versatility than conventional options like lithium-ion batteries.

Solar panels are now almost always accompanied by lithium-ion batteries. However, the new CO2 battery may have an advantage when storing wind energy, which can be even more unpredictable than solar energy. The CO2 battery’s creator, Energy Dome, recently disclosed a new collaboration with the largest wind energy firm in the world, Ørsted.

HOW IT WORKS

The CO2 battery makes use of aspects of thermal energy storage, which converts electricity into heat, as well as compressed-air and liquid-air systems, which condense and compress air to reduce its volume before allowing it to expand to its natural state and generate electricity quickly, with the whoosh from that expansion powering a turbine. The technology used by Energy Dome compresses carbon dioxide at a pressure of 60 bar, heating the gas to a liquid state at 300 °C. The CO2 is then cooled to room temperature by the heat being withdrawn and stored in quartzite and steel shot “bricks” for later use. The gas is then transformed into a liquid and kept in carbon steel tanks.

When power is needed, the liquid CO2 is sent through an evaporator to transform it back into a pressurized gas. This pressurized gas is heated to 290–300°C, releasing the stored heat. After being injected into an expansion turbine, the gas rapidly expands at air pressure to power a rotating generator. The uncompressed CO2 is then stored at room temperature and pressure in a flexible dome, giving the business its name.

It implies that a massive inflatable gas holder, or the dome, must store the CO2 in a closed system instead of using ambient air. However, this is a cheap part that only needs a sturdy but flexible PVC-coated cloth, which is currently produced for biogas plants. Since Manufacturers must keep the CO2 at a consistent pressure, an inflatable dome is required as opposed to a concrete steel tank.

The Effects of Lead-Acid Batteries on the Environment

The percentage of pure lead in a lead-acid battery increases with battery quality. And as this essay demonstrates, there are adverse environmental effects. While nations like India and China rely on renewable resources like solar electricity, the decision that is the most environmentally friendly yet results in significant collateral harm. This is because these nations’ distribution networks are inadequate, forcing them to use lead batteries to store their energy.

The solar energy sectors in China and India have already discharged approximately 2.4 million tonnes of lead into the environment, or about a third of global production, according to a 2011 study published in the academic journal Energy Policy. China closed 583 lead battery factories simultaneously due to environmental contamination in nearby areas. Lead harms not only the environment but also our health. The website Notre-Planète.info states that lead exposure can impair memory and harm the cardiovascular system. It can result in miscarriages and early births in pregnant women.

The Effects of Lithium Batteries on the Environment

Most goods we love to use and consume worldwide contain lithium batteries. The economic stakes are more than alluring for the nations who export this metal, primarily Australia, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Tibet, and Afghanistan. However, the water-intensive process of extracting lithium creates several issues, such as soil deterioration and the depletion of water supplies. National Geographic examines the industry’s excesses in its February 2019 issue: In Bolivia, this “white gold rush” threatens the most incredible salt desert in the world.

Deep inside the earth is where 17% of the world’s lithium can be found. The mines proliferate like mushrooms and disregard any regulations or considerations for the environment. Poisoning the atmosphere we need to exist.

Batteries Are a Necessary Evil

The “missing piece in completely green residential self-generation” is batteries. Indeed, the need for constant energy availability is a drawback of energy produced by solar and wind power. Batteries are, therefore, essential to keep and store the energy produced for subsequent use. Batteries are not a panacea: Many people may be put off by storing pure, renewable energy in dangerous, explosive, and environmentally damaging lead-sulfide or lithium batteries—and for a good reason! We could all find the solution we’re seeking in a solution that comes from the problem’s root.

Wrap Up

As with all the other products we consume that have a significant carbon footprint (smartphones, etc.), we must try to make the batteries last as long as possible to reduce our carbon footprint. A new type of battery could be what we need on our journey toward a more sustainable future. Planet earth needs more of us, and sustainability is our only way forward. Don’t you think it might be time to try and consider CO2 as an ally?


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