Decarbonisation tech instantly converts CO2 to solid carbon

New tech offers pathway for instantly converting carbon dioxide as it is produced and locking it permanently in a solid state, keeping CO2 out of the atmosphere.

Peer-Reviewed Publication


Australian researchers have developed a smart and super-efficient new way of capturing carbon dioxide and converting it to solid carbon, to help advance the decarbonisation of heavy industries.

The carbon dioxide utilisation technology from researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, is designed to be smoothly integrated into existing industrial processes.

Decarbonisation is an immense technical challenge for heavy industries like cement and steel, which are not only energy-intensive but also directly emit CO2 as part of the production process.


The new technology offers a pathway for instantly converting carbon dioxide as it is produced and locking it permanently in a solid state, keeping CO2 out of the atmosphere.

The research is published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science.

Co-lead researcher Associate Professor Torben Daeneke said the work built on an earlier experimental approach that used liquid metals as a catalyst.

“Our new method still harnesses the power of liquid metals but the design has been modified for smoother integration into standard industrial processes,” Daeneke said.

“As well as being simpler to scale up, the new tech is radically more efficient and can break down CO2 to carbon in an instant.

“We hope this could be a significant new tool in the push towards decarbonisation, to help industries and governments deliver on their climate commitments and bring us radically closer to net zero.”

A provisional patent application has been filed for the technology and researchers have recently signed a $AUD2.6 million agreement with Australian environmental technology company ABR, who are commercialising technologies to decarbonise the cement and steel manufacturing industries.

Co-lead researcher Dr Ken Chiang said the team was keen to hear from other companies to understand the challenges in difficult-to-decarbonise industries and identify other potential applications of the technology.

“To accelerate the sustainable industrial revolution and the zero carbon economy, we need smart technical solutions and effective research-industry collaborations,” Chiang said.

The steel and cement industries are each responsible for about 7% of total global CO2 emissions (International Energy Agency), with both sectors expected to continue growing over coming decades as demand is fuelled by population growth and urbanisation.

Technologies for carbon capture and storage (CCS) have largely focused on compressing the gas into a liquid and injecting it underground, but this comes with significant engineering challenges and environmental concerns. CCS has also drawn criticism for being too expensive and energy-intensive for widespread use.

Daeneke, an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow, said the new approach offered a sustainable alternative, with the aim of both preventing CO2 emissions and delivering value-added reutilisation of carbon.

“Turning CO2 into a solid avoids potential issues of leakage and locks it away securely and indefinitely,” he said.

“And because our process does not use very high temperatures, it would be feasible to power the reaction with renewable energy.”

The Australian Government has highlighted CCS as a priority technology for investment in its net zero plan, announcing a $1 billion fund for the development of new low emissions technologies.

How the tech works

The RMIT team, with lead author and PhD researcher Karma Zuraiqi, employed thermal chemistry methods widely used by industry in their development of the new CCS tech.

The “bubble column” method starts with liquid metal being heated to about 100-120C.

Carbon dioxide is injected into the liquid metal, with the gas bubbles rising up just like bubbles in a champagne glass.

As the bubbles move through the liquid metal, the gas molecule splits up to form flakes of solid carbon, with the reaction taking just a split second.

“It’s the extraordinary speed of the chemical reaction we have achieved that makes our technology commercially viable, where so many alternative approaches have struggled,” Chiang said.

The next stage in the research is scaling up the proof-of-concept to a modularized prototype the size of a shipping container, in collaboration with industry partner ABR.

ABR Project Director David Ngo said the RMIT process turns a waste product into a core ingredient in the next generation of cement blends.

“Climate change will not be solved by one single solution, however, the collaboration between ABR and RMIT will yield an efficient and effective technology for our net-zero goals,” Ngo said.

The team is also investigating potential applications for the converted carbon, including in construction materials.

“Ideally the carbon we make could be turned into a value-added product, contributing to the circular economy and enabling the CCS technology to pay for itself over time,” Daeneke said.

The research involved a multi-disciplinary collaboration across engineering and science, with RMIT co-authors Jonathan Clarke-Hannaford, Billy James Murdoch, Associate Professor Kalpit Shah and Professor Michelle Spencer.

Direct Conversion of CO2 to Solid Carbon by Liquid Metals’, with collaborators from University of Melbourne and Deakin University, is published in Energy & Environmental Science (DOI: 10.1039/d1ee03283f).


Energy & Environmental Science



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January 20, 2022 10:06 am

Woo hoo! Just burn the carbon, and you’ve got perpetual motion / free energy generation! Yippee!

BTW, did I mention the terrific investment property that I happen to have for sale?

comment image

Tom Halla
Reply to  Dave Burton
January 20, 2022 10:13 am

This looks more like voodoo acupuncture.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 20, 2022 1:07 pm

“As soon as I saw the first sentence with the UN’s favorite word ‘pathway’ I gagged : “New tech offers pathway for instantly converting carbon dioxide as it is produced and locking it permanently in a solid state, keeping CO2 out of the atmosphere.”

Also “tech” is an engineering term meaning the science has been proven to be practical.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
January 20, 2022 1:45 pm

You would have to supply as much energy to peel away those oxygen atoms from the carbon as you got from burning it to attach them. Refine the metal, keep it hot ,,, Then there are the inevitable inefficiencies. Losing game.

Reply to  Ellen
January 20, 2022 1:58 pm

Some years ago, I read of a proposal by a university to spend vast amounts of money on a perpetual-motion machine. I wrote to them with a detailed explanation of all the maths and physics showing the whole energy cycle and exactly how and why it could never work. They spent the money anyway.

oeman 50
Reply to  Ellen
January 21, 2022 9:06 am

Indeed. It’s funny how few people realize this simple consequence of thermodynamics. When I have seen schemes like this, I ask, “Why burn it (fuel) in the first place?”

david chorley
Reply to  Ellen
January 21, 2022 2:16 pm

Gibbs’ free energy equation {delta}G = {delta}H + T{delta}S which relates the total change of energy in a system {delta}G with the useable energy, the enthalpy {delta }H and the product of the absolute temperature of the reaction T multiplied by the change in entropy {delta}S .

Everybody talking about carbon capture being viable is either woefully ignorant of this basic principle, or willfully ignorant to the point of mendacity

Eric Vieira
Reply to  Gary Pearse
January 22, 2022 8:45 am

That’s easy: it’s called “dry ice”.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
January 30, 2022 6:13 am

The metal is heated to 100 – 120 degrees Celsius? What metal is that?

Rod Evans
Reply to  Dave Burton
January 20, 2022 10:35 am

Dave you need to move your sign to the towers above the roadway. More punters driving by will see it there, than the few boats passing underneath.
Have you considered offering a two for one price? That other crossing just a bit further up looks like a ringer :).

Pariah Dog
Reply to  Rod Evans
January 20, 2022 2:42 pm

I reckon he’s looking for new boat money, rather than new car money, for the bridge.

Bill Sprague
Reply to  Rod Evans
January 21, 2022 6:04 pm

In addition, the rising ocean will soon cover the sign in its current location.

Reply to  Dave Burton
January 20, 2022 11:51 am

Hmm, a machine that turns CO2 into coal that’s as carbon neutral as whale oil. If you can add some H2 to the mix, make natural gas instead of coal and power it with nuclear energy, it could be a useful technology for producing hydrocarbon feed stock for when we eventually run out of fossil fuels.

Reply to  Dave Burton
January 20, 2022 12:19 pm

Sure, just burn it in a power plant. It is carbon-neutral by burning carbon from the air. Just as carbon neutral as burning wood pellets.
Build a small nuclear generator to give it the power to accomplish this feat.
Or … build nuclear power plants and forget the carbon capture. When the power industry is entirely nuclear mankind will be adding no fossil fuel exhaust to the atmosphere.
Then … it will be discovered that the world is actually cooling and needs more CO2 to feed humanity and we will have plenty of carbon pellets to burn returning it to the atmosphere.
Later … it will be determined that mankind has no real effect on CO2 and all the money was wasted.
And … Dave will get a check for the bridge.

Reply to  Old.George
January 20, 2022 10:27 pm

Carbon black, or graphite, is used industrially. To make toner for printers and lots of other applications.

Laws of Nature
Reply to  Dave Burton
January 20, 2022 12:31 pm

Good to see this as the first post!!
“super-efficient new way of capturing carbon dioxide and converting it to solid carbon”
sounds wrong no matter who publishes it.

In particular if you use fossil fuels and coal to run this process you will ALWAYS be better off not doing it, but save the energy at 100% efficiency! No real process will ever come close to that number.
And Liquid metal sounds either poisonous or energy intensive.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Laws of Nature
January 20, 2022 12:51 pm

And Liquid metal sounds either poisonous or energy intensive.

Both is most likely

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Laws of Nature
January 20, 2022 12:55 pm

They use a low-melting point gallium alloy. However, it will still have to be kept heated to 100-200 deg C, which will require 24/7 energy consumption. Nothing is said about whether or how much gallium is lost, nor what the expected energy efficiency is. In any event, the process will have to compete with the electronics industry for off-shore supplies of gallium.

david chorley
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 20, 2022 2:22 pm

And when you oxidize the Gallium in the alloy it is no longer Eutectic and will solidify

Stephen Rasey
Reply to  david chorley
January 20, 2022 5:25 pm

They said the metal was a catalyst. But with all that oxygen liberated at 100 deg c, I wonder if it is really catalytic.

Loren C. Wilson
Reply to  Stephen Rasey
January 20, 2022 6:42 pm

If it is a catalyst, then you have to put in just as much energy to break the carbon-oxygen bonds as you got out as the molecule of CO2 formed those bonds. I don’t see any energy input so they must be reacting the oxygen in the CO@ molecule with gallium, making carbon and gallium oxide. Very expensive.

Reply to  Loren C. Wilson
January 20, 2022 10:29 pm

They have to heat the metal to over 100C, so that’s probably where the energy comes from (although I would have thought it was much too low. What’s the burning point of carbon?).

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 20, 2022 3:16 pm

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 24, 2022 8:27 am

Fossil Fuel electric generation burns the fuel to heat water into steam to turn turbines and reaches upwards of 375 degrees C under pressure which is enough to heat the gallium by routing the steam to the device with existing energy before the steam is cooled back to water.

During the sintering process of limestones, etcetera for cement and other products manufacturing existing heat can be captured and routed to this device during normal procedures.

During smelting of metals there are heat sources that just needs redirected to this device.

Gases that react with metals create their own energy transfer such as the reaction of carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide on platinum that is heated by the fuel combustion at the the catalytic converter. Naphtha cigarette lighters in WWII used finely divided platinum on the wick that when exposed to the air created combustion of the gas into a flame, that was extinguished by closing the devices cap.

Reply to  Laws of Nature
January 21, 2022 4:23 am

liquid at 100c sounds like Mer cur ee

and even a trace of that or any other metal in coal smoke is killing the entire biosphere…interesting they did not give us the name of the magic metal

Steve Taylor
Reply to  meiggs
January 21, 2022 10:57 am

Nope. Gallium.

Ken Dean
Reply to  Dave Burton
January 20, 2022 12:58 pm

Maybe this article should be also published on April 1st!

Reply to  Ken Dean
January 20, 2022 1:14 pm

Hey.. it’s “Peer Reviewed”.

Reply to  Dave Burton
January 20, 2022 1:36 pm

With my scheme, I can guarantee more than a million dollar return for you.

First, you have to invest two million dollars with me.

J Giles
Reply to  Dave Burton
January 20, 2022 1:37 pm

Ok, this sounds more than a little out of kilter from an energy perspective. Carbon fuels, including coal, are burned to PRODUCE energy and the end-product is carbon dioxide. Returning the carbon from an energy depleted state in carbon dioxide to elemental carbon, like that found in coal, REQUIRES energy, and plenty of it. The chemistry is interesting, but it sure doesn’t look like a solution to energy production / climate change.

Reply to  J Giles
January 21, 2022 4:38 am

I suppose if you’re burning a hydrocarbon it would be possible to use the energy produced by the carbon part to revert the carbon dioxide back to carbon, keep the energy produced by burning the hydrogen part.release the water to the atmosphere.
It still sounds inefficient though.

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Dave Burton
January 20, 2022 2:48 pm

Will you accept NFTs?

Reply to  Dave Burton
January 20, 2022 3:24 pm

Whee!!! All plants gonna die from CO2 starvation!!!! Hope these guys enjoy eating cardboard – oh, wait – cardboard comes from trees!

Sorry, I forgot!

James Bull
Reply to  Dave Burton
January 21, 2022 1:35 am

OK I’ll bite
How much and can you deliver? Think it would look nice as a garden feature, although not sure what the neighbours will think.
Though we Brits got there first selling you our old London Bridge when you first thought you were getting Tower Bridge.

As for the article I’m sure it’s a wonderful idea and is as they say “radically more efficient” meaning you only need two power stations rather than three to capture the CO2 from one. I like the claim that it would be powered by renewable (don’t you just love ‘New Speak’) energy which means it would only happen if the wind blows or the sun shines and there was enough spare capacity in the grid. Oh what a muddle all this nonsense ties them up in.

James Bull

climate Heretic
Reply to  Dave Burton
January 21, 2022 1:13 pm

I will buy this bridge any day of the year.

Climate Heretic
Disclaimer: I love this bridge

January 20, 2022 10:08 am

Whats the metal thats liquid at 100 to 120 C?

Joe Wagner
Reply to  sid
January 20, 2022 10:11 am

Google lists caesium, rubidium, gallium, francium and mercury being liquid around there… but two of those are radioactive, and I think caesium reacts with water- I’m not too clear on that.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Joe Wagner
January 20, 2022 11:44 am

Both Cs and Rb react with water, even moisture in the air.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gary Pearse
January 20, 2022 1:11 pm

And francium abundance is only a few grams in the entire crust of the earth.

On the outer Barcoo
Reply to  sid
January 20, 2022 10:13 am

Mercury, gallium for starters

Mark Broderick
Reply to  On the outer Barcoo
January 20, 2022 10:39 am

Poisonous ?

Reply to  sid
January 20, 2022 10:17 am

Closest elemental metal is Indium at 156C so maybe an alloy based on Indium?

Why would CO2 split at 120C? Seems like the metal must be a catalyst but the article doesn’t explicitly say that.

Edit: I suppose it could just be hot Mercury, it doesn’t boil until 357C

Reply to  menace
January 20, 2022 10:28 am

The abstract says

EGaIn liquid metal (LM) alloy

From another paper:

In this paper, a facile Eutectic Galium-Indium (EGaln) liquid-based microfluidic high-sensitivity, skin-mountable, and ultra-soft stretchable sensor is developed.

Eutectic means that the alloy melts/freezes at the same temperature without the components of the lower temperature alloy melting/freezing separately. Soldering alloys are typically eutectic for obvious reasons.
The abstract says

EGaIn liquid metal (LM) alloy

From another paper:

In this paper, a facile Eutectic Galium-Indium (EGaln) liquid-based microfluidic high-sensitivity, skin-mountable, and ultra-soft stretchable sensor is developed.

Eutectic means that the alloy melts/freezes at the same temperature without the components of the lower temperature alloy melting/freezing separately. Soldering alloys are typically eutectic for obvious reasons.

Also the abstract seems to say the CO2 somehow disassociates after adsorbing into the metal. The oxygen is taken up as Galium Oxide so the Galium is apparently consumed in the process. That raises some questions: (1) How to remove the carbon from he alloy – probably requires depleted liquid to undergo a carbon removal process – okay; (2) Do we have enough Gallium to feed the process on a massive scale and consume it into oxides?; (3) Is there a practical process to deoxidize the spent Gallium that doesn’t consume a large percentage of the carbon-generated energy?

Reply to  menace
January 20, 2022 10:50 am

Here’s another paper:

Eutectic Gallium-Indium (EGaIn): A Liquid Metal Alloy for the Formation of Stable Structures in Microchannels at Room Temperature

Peter Muller
Reply to  menace
January 20, 2022 11:20 am

Ave crustal abundance of Gallium is 16-17 ppm, so no, this isn’t something that’s abundant. All existing gallium is produced as a by-product of mining and processing aluminum, copper and zinc ores.

Reply to  Peter Muller
January 21, 2022 12:27 am

And the mining machines are powered by??
Diesel oil??

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  menace
January 20, 2022 2:23 pm

I was wondering about the fate of the oxygen atoms in all this — it’s kind of important to keep them in the atmosphere.

Reply to  menace
January 20, 2022 4:21 pm

The abstract implies that “pure” CO2 is bubbled through the liquid metal. So, isn’t there energy/technology/cost to separate the CO2 from the air that needs to be accounted for?

Reply to  menace
January 21, 2022 10:17 pm

Good find Menace. It is a pity the RMIT uni paper is not open access, like the one you reference. From the abstract it appears that both the Ga2O3 and C rise to the top of the liquid column but the question then is how is the Ga2O3 recovered. Gallium is a rare elements which can be recovered as a byproduct of bauxite treatment of of zinc containing ores. Only some 500 tonnes are produced in the world per year with china the biggest producer. there would not be sufficient Ga to recover CO2 from cement or steel production. The research seems to be a waste of time and money.

Bryan A
Reply to  sid
January 20, 2022 10:18 am

Gallium is one, it is a solid at room temperature but hold it in your hand and it will melt at body temperature

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Bryan A
January 20, 2022 10:57 am

Gallium very aggressively forms amalgams, especially aluminum. You can’t take it or ship it by air. Handling it outside a lab might be problematic.

Dave Yaussy
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
January 20, 2022 11:08 am


The next stage in the research is scaling up the proof-of-concept to a modularized prototype the size of a shipping container, in collaboration with industry partner ABR.

Going from the lab to real world prototype. Where so many dreams go to die.

Reply to  Dave Yaussy
January 20, 2022 4:57 pm

But wait…There’s more… (just like the 6 steak knives in TV commercials)… Having shown a possible chemical concept, this opens the path to additional funding requirements to keep the “researchers, et al” in a job for the next two or three years, or however long they can drag this out for… what a waste of research dollars…

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
January 20, 2022 12:09 pm

A very nice episode showing what can happen, although I worry about the random bits of gallium that might now be scattered through his yard. No mag-alloy wheels for you!

Gallium Vs High Pressure Tank – YouTube

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Bryan A
January 20, 2022 12:50 pm

I think it melts in your mouth, not in your hand.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
January 20, 2022 1:04 pm

Plus 100+++

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
January 20, 2022 1:17 pm

I’ll take chocolate, thanks.

DJ in DE
Reply to  sid
January 20, 2022 11:04 am

“Direct conversion of CO2 to solid carbon by Ga-based liquid metals”

title of the abstract – so Gallium, perhaps in an alloy mixture

see comment from menace for additional details

Gary Pearse
Reply to  sid
January 20, 2022 11:42 am

Gallium. It ain’t cheap either ~$350-400/kg. It is also relatively rare -extracted as a byproduct from bauxite and zinc ores. China is the major producer. Sorry, no “new industrial revolution” (sheesh, the hubris!)

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Gary Pearse
January 20, 2022 1:00 pm

USGS says that France and Russia are the major suppliers.

Reply to  sid
January 20, 2022 1:05 pm

every schoolboy from the 60s knows its called Woods metal what all the melting spoons and teapots were made of in the black and white sci fi films. Ill send you some in the post

Reply to  sid
January 20, 2022 1:14 pm

According to the abstract of the journal article linked to the at the bottom of the posting above the liquid medal is EGaln (~ Eutectic Gallium-Indium (EGaln) liquid) , bot h components of the mixture are rare elements with a price tag somwhere in the 300 to 700 US$/kg depending on how purity grade. And annual world production quantity is probably og both metals combined is probaly around 1000 tonnes, According to the atricle if i understand it correctly what happens is that some portion of the CO2 gas molecules break up the carbon becomes soldid (coal/ graphite??) and the gallium transform into galliumoxide on a 1:1 volume basis so a liter of CO2 turns an equal volume of gallium atoms into gallium-salt that is no longer is useful as an oxygen grabber ( though it can probably be reworked/reprocessed into one again in some post op , at of course added cost haha). I simply think it can be fairly concluded that this process has not much chance of being scalable upward to anything significant, they should probably try to use melted fairy-dust instead of the liquid metal it’s abundance is much higher and totally cost free in the magic green world.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Björn
January 20, 2022 2:50 pm

I would suspect that it is a 1:1 molar basis, not volume.

Reply to  Björn
January 20, 2022 10:35 pm

It would be a useful process if the carbon solidified in the form of diamonds. Otherwise it must be a net consumer of energy.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  sid
January 20, 2022 5:37 pm

Easy – the same Liquid Metal the T-1000 terminators were made from!

All you need is a closed loop time paradox and you can have all the Liquid Metal you need.

January 20, 2022 10:09 am

Problem solved!
I await the massive rollout of the technology to the coal plants.

Two years later: [crickets]

Peter W
January 20, 2022 10:12 am

That ends the increase in plant growth!

Tom Halla
January 20, 2022 10:14 am

I saw nothing about dealing with metal oxides.

Reply to  Tom Halla
January 20, 2022 10:43 am

yep, I suspect that may be the crux of the matter

I don’t think we have enough Gallium to consume one Gallium atom for each Carbon atom that is consumed so there would have to be a process to recover the Gallium and if that process consumes 30% of the carbon-based electricity being generated it would be no better than other CCS technology except perhaps that it would be safer.

Another sticking point, how big a tank of the EGaIn alloy is required to process one 2GW coal plant’s emissions? Lets say we have 10,000 coal plants is there enough Ga and In available to scale up to that? If the answer is no this is just a lot of hot air.

Reply to  menace
January 20, 2022 11:43 am

I strongly suspect that reprocessing the alloy to get it ready for another batch of CO2 will take more energy than was created by burning the carbon in the first place.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  MarkW
January 20, 2022 1:01 pm

Yes, they overlook mentioning the energy costs for extracting the carbon and reclaiming the gallium.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 20, 2022 1:34 pm

That’s where most of these miracle technologies fail.

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 20, 2022 3:02 pm

Someone should introduce the electrochemical series to them.

Reply to  menace
January 20, 2022 1:54 pm

Gallium content in the earth’s crust is in the 15-20 ppm and indium is thougt to bwe at aroun 50 parrts per billion , ~150-200 times lower than he gallium , and so spread out thaat there simpy are no places know or to found that it can be mined as primary material , so it will always be avaiability will always be a small (wvery small) part. For gallium there is an estimated possibly recoverable to an amount of 1 million tons , if we melt every ounce of bauxite that we can dig up from the crust, not much chaance of that happening if the energy to do so is to come from , birdblenders.

January 20, 2022 10:15 am

Do you chaps out there with more chemistry than me think mercury is reactive enough at 100 C ?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  sid
January 20, 2022 1:03 pm

TOO reactive! Highly toxic fumes produced, even at room temperature. Fortunately, they aren’t using mercury.

Paul S.
January 20, 2022 10:19 am

Imagine if we can get that nasty CO2 down to 200 ppm, then we can turn all plant life into carbon as it dies, with all animal life shortly thereafter. What a concept!

Reply to  Paul S.
January 20, 2022 12:46 pm

Nail on head. I read recently (apologies can’t remember where) co2 average 2600 ppm for the last 600 million years, if people were aware of that no one would be sh*tting their pants over 415 ppm and this whole house of cards could never have been built. I’ve also read 2000 ppm average for the last 600 million years. Which is more accurate I don’t know, but I know we are pretty low on the stuff right now and considering we are due 100,000 years of deep glaciation and that that is a very good way of reducing ppm I really don’t think we should be trying to reduce ppm artificially. Quite the opposite. I shall do my bit and keep my suv and dual fuel stove.

Reply to  Notanacademic
January 21, 2022 12:01 am

This fact usually reduces Alarmists to silence.

Reply to  Graemethecat
January 21, 2022 1:45 am

Indeed. I’ve put this and a few other very simple facts to some of our regular trolls, never had a reply.

January 20, 2022 10:24 am

How much does it cost (in money and carbon) to heat the metal to capture other carbon?

What do they do with the metal+carbon mix after they have captured the carbon? Can’t recycle it; you’d have to re-capture the carbon released. Must dump it somewhere, eh? How much does it cost (in money and carbon) to mine new ore and refine it into new metal?

Rick C
Reply to  Felix
January 20, 2022 12:14 pm

The article mentions powering the process with renewable energy(ha ha ha). I suspect it would be a far less economical and effective carbon reduction use of wind/solar power than using the energy to replace fossil fuels. Of course renewables are not viable anyway due to cost and intermittency, but intermittency alone is not viable in industrial application where continuous 24/7 production is the norm. Can’t shut down a cement plant because the wind stopped blowing or the sun set.

Funny how these stories never include a basic energy budget or ROI analysis.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Rick C
January 21, 2022 7:37 am

The article mentions powering the process with renewable energy(ha ha ha).

Which in turn is entirely dependent upon fossil fuels for its existence. SMH!

Every stupid idea with the underpinning of “powered by renewable energy” is like being a proponent of 5,000lb SUVs that are moved by the wind via a big sail on top whenever the wind is blowing hard enough, and in the right direction, to move the SUV. At all other times, you engage the gasoline engine.

Or you could just leave off the sail and lower the coefficient of drag, thereby saving a lot more gas than the “wind power” component. There’s an analogy in there somewhere…

Reply to  Felix
January 20, 2022 4:13 pm

“Ideally the carbon we make could be turned into a value-added product, contributing to the circular economy jerk and enabling the CCS technology to pay for itself over time,”

Reply to  Mr.
January 22, 2022 9:19 pm

I’m sure carbon logs would burn nicely.

Rod Evans
January 20, 2022 10:28 am

What is the metal being used in this activity.
I initially thought mercury as they talk only about liquid metal. But then went for sodium as the option, because they say between 100 C to 120 C working temp Does anyone have the details?

Reply to  Rod Evans
January 20, 2022 10:39 am

Eutectic Galium-Indium alloy

Rod Evans
Reply to  menace
January 20, 2022 11:07 am

Phew that’s lucky I imagined it might be something exotic….
I can buy Gallium for just £800/kg and Indium at £ should be easy on for commercialisation of carbon capture. 🙂

Reply to  Rod Evans
January 20, 2022 12:58 pm

Somewhere out in space there has to be one or more asteroids that are made of Gallium and Indium. Elon Musk probably has a plan in place to go get one, tow it back and mine it for the sake of all human kind.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Rod Evans
January 20, 2022 1:08 pm

That is at current prices, where the main demand is in the semiconductor industry. If carbon sequestration starts to compete for a relatively scarce element, you can be sure the price will increase considerably. Thus, even the price of some semiconductors will be impacted by carbon sequestration, not just electricity.

January 20, 2022 10:30 am

…but can it revert the solid carbon back to CO2 when they realize the crops are not as healthy nor abundant, and mass starvations return to the world like back in the 70’s?

Asking for a friend.

Shoki Kaneda
Reply to  Philip
January 20, 2022 1:23 pm

I’ll volunteer to burn some in my backyard grill when the weather is warmer.

January 20, 2022 10:31 am

Perhaps they are unaware of the science that indicates CO2 follows natural warming. Perhaps they are unaware of the science that proves CO2 is plant food and necessary for life. Perhaps these researchers are unaware of the fact that the earth is in a rather low ebb for CO2 considering the average CO2 levels in the Earths past. This research now begs the question, that once we put CO2 into a solid form, what then do we do with it?

Eyes Wide Open
Reply to  Teewee
January 20, 2022 10:34 am

Dump if on the front lawn of Leo DiCaprio’s house!

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Eyes Wide Open
January 20, 2022 1:00 pm

Handy to build a wall to protect against rising sea levels

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Teewee
January 20, 2022 12:33 pm

They’re too interested in getting rich from their patent than to worry about mundane things such as Global Warming. That’s somebody else’s problem to worry about.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Teewee
January 20, 2022 1:09 pm

Make pencils to replace our computers.

Bob Hunter
January 20, 2022 10:32 am

If the process actually works, wouldn’t a prudent application be in a thermal coal power generation plant? The solid could also be returned to the strip mine that is usually nearby (in North America)

Reply to  Bob Hunter
January 20, 2022 10:50 am

I’m thinking diamonds.

Reply to  martin557
January 20, 2022 2:50 pm

That was my thought too, martin.

It sounds like you get really pure carbon. Add some heat and pressure and DeBeers executives will be pulling their hair out.

Pretty soon they’ll be putting 20 carat flawless diamonds in boxes of Cracker Jacks.

Reply to  Bob Hunter
January 20, 2022 3:49 pm

Why not just feed the recovered carbon to the front of the process, the coal power plant, and recover it again. No more coal mining, miner deaths, tailings ponds, etc, free limitless power, much cheaper than fusion!

Paul Johnson
Reply to  PCman999
January 20, 2022 10:11 pm

Yes. This is essentially a process for converting CO2 into coal (solid carbon).

Eyes Wide Open
January 20, 2022 10:32 am

Plants won’t like this . . .

Reply to  Eyes Wide Open
January 20, 2022 10:37 am

The political plants would be delirious.

John Bell
January 20, 2022 10:41 am

Is it not true that we still do not understand how plants strip off the 02 from the C02? Photosynthesis. We could just let the C02 in to the atmosphere and let the plants use it.

Rod Evans
Reply to  John Bell
January 20, 2022 10:54 am

Now look John, I have already applied for the patent of a glass structure that can convert CO2 into commercially desirable products. I am thinking of calling my glass reaction structures green houses as they look quite green when all that stuff coming up once it has been exposed to CO2 shows itself above the ground level. I am also experimenting with a method of producing red fruits that seem quite attractive nice and round and taste very agreeable.
I wonder if anyone else has thought of this novel idea I have had to deal with CO2?……

Reply to  Rod Evans
January 20, 2022 2:56 pm

Newton almost had it when that round red fruit clunked him on the head. But he missed the commercial application and came up with gravity instead.

Missed the boat did he. Apples are a multibillion-dollar crop, whereas no one goes into a shop and asks, “Where do you keep the gravity? I need a 5 lb. bag of it.”

Reply to  John Bell
January 21, 2022 5:30 am

No, it occurs during the Calvin cycle.

January 20, 2022 10:46 am

Phosphorus melts at 111F and will react violently with just about anything. So the “liquid metal” discussed could be Phosphorus. It is nasty stuff to deal with – ignites spontaneously in contact with air and is quite toxic. If it is Phosphorous it will be interesting to learn how their method accommodates the dangers.

Reply to  DHR
January 20, 2022 11:44 am

Phosphorus is only a “metal” to astronomers (along with everything except Hydrogen and Helium). To the rest of us poor mortals it’s nonmetallic.

Reply to  DHR
January 20, 2022 2:21 pm

As has beeb stated abve this the liquid is something called EGaln an alloy of Gallium and Indium, it is has a melting point at around 16°C and boils at 2000°C. And is non-toxic. Funny stuff in many ways. But mostly used to for fpinting microchip. it forms a 3 nanometer thick layer stable or semistable layer ( flakes off again but very slowly if in contact to air , if i understand correctly) on a printboard surface if is painted with the liquid.

michael hart
January 20, 2022 10:48 am

Quite apart from the huge energy costs required, anything that takes a fluid (liquid or gas) and converts it into a solid products and by-products is a nightmare for process chemists.

The chemistry is one thing, but physically separating the products of a reaction in a continuous-flow process is often what makes or breaks its practical utility. Something that produces solid carbon is not a place I would want to go.

Reply to  michael hart
January 20, 2022 2:40 pm

According to the article the carbon in th CO2 turn into a flake of pure carbon-carbon bonded solids that float up to the surface of the liquid metal as its density is less than the metal , and can be removed from in a simple way from there.

Ed Bo
January 20, 2022 10:48 am

No matter how good the process, reducing (“de-oxidizing”) CO2 to carbon requires at least as much energy as was released in oxidizing the carbon in the first place.

This is covered in high school chemistry. Anyone who understands this simple point would immediately recognize that this whole project is pointless.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Ed Bo
January 20, 2022 1:12 pm

Yes, it implies an endothermic reaction that will require considerable energy input to keep the gallium-indium alloy liquid. If the windmills stop at night, then the whole thing will freeze up.

Reply to  Ed Bo
January 20, 2022 4:03 pm

Not pointless – the whole exercise is to mine subsidies and grants from the idiots who picked their noses at the back of science class, who grew up to be politicians.

Reply to  PCman999
January 21, 2022 12:15 pm

What is that stuff anyway… sure sticks well to the underside of the desk… precurser of SuperGlue.?

Reply to  Ed Bo
January 21, 2022 10:09 am

reducing (“de-oxidizing”) CO2 to carbon requires at least as much energy as was released in oxidizing the carbon in the first place.

This seems to be the basic concept the green activists ALWAYS miss.

Hoyt Clagwell
January 20, 2022 10:50 am

Just think, with another trillion dollars, and fusion energy, they may finally be able to extract sunbeams from cucumbers. I’m astounded at the amount of time, energy, and money being spent to solve a non-problem.

January 20, 2022 10:52 am

Everyone’s beaten me to the “perpetual motion machine” reference. Darn.

This proves, either, that some scientists have no practical sense, or that the scientists are adept at holding tongue firmly in cheek whenever making such claims.

Reply to  PCman999
January 20, 2022 10:56 am

Actually, the “scientists” have a perpetual motion machine–the magic molecule…

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  PCman999
January 20, 2022 1:14 pm

… adept at holding tongue firmly in cheek whenever making such claims.

Or are looking for gullible financial angels to fund the boondoggle.

Gregory Woods
January 20, 2022 10:54 am

Just another solution in search of a problem…

John M
January 20, 2022 10:56 am

As others have stated, the reaction consumes gallium:

In situ XPS measurements indicate an increase of 9.6% in the carbon–carbon bond content and an equivalent decrease in the Ga metal content, upon exposure of the LM to CO2 for 30 mins at 200 °C and 1 bar. This led to the conclusion that solid carbon and gallium oxide are the final reaction products of this process.”

This appears to be a novel use of the word “catalyst.”

3CO2 + 4Ga —> 2Ga2O3 +3C

That’s almost a 1:1 weight ratio of Ga to CO2.

Spot price of gallium:

January 20, 2022 10:56 am

“Ideally the carbon we make could be turned into a value-added product, contributing to the circular economy and enabling the CCS technology to pay for itself over time,”

As Dave Burton said

Woo hoo! Just burn the carbon, and you’ve got perpetual motion / free energy generation! Yippee!

But I suppose if you can extract it as pure carbon it might be useful for carbon nanotechnology… but it would be tons and tons of carbon so it seems most of it just would be re-burned. But in a way that is just renewing the original carbon burned.

But what is the energy cost of removing and reprocessing all this carbon and also the cost of de-oxidizing the Gallium to regenerate the EGaIn for re-use. Also is there even enough Ga & In to scale this tech up to 10,000+ coal and gas power plants? These seem to be the main obstacles to me.

January 20, 2022 10:59 am


Peta of Newark
January 20, 2022 11:02 am

The ‘problem’ as I see it is not what the Liquid Metal actually is- that is not an issue yet they make it out to be soooooo important. What are they hiding?

The problem stems from that when Carbon oxidises, it releases A Lot Of Energy.
Which is why we’re fond of it and why its such such useful stuff

What they are doing here, hidden behind a pack of ‘liquid metal squirrels’ and a good looking young woman, is that they are de-oxidising Carbon

That is surely Shirley a process that *MUST* consume at least the amount of energy that was released when the Carbon was oxidised. What’s happening to the Oxygen?
So where is that energy input?

All I see here is another Cold Fusion project. = Crap, Junk & Dead Science in a Dark Age

David Blenkinsop
Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 20, 2022 1:49 pm

Well, the head post seems to say that all you need is a little renewable energy to extract all the carbon you want this way. So just burn whatever amount of that output you may need to keep the elite woke people warm, and that is all that really matters, and the rest of us can just go to aitch ‘ee’ double toothpicks..

John Bell
Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 20, 2022 2:06 pm

Gad she is cute!

January 20, 2022 11:04 am

“Australian researchers have developed a smart and super-efficient new way…” Shaking-my-head… Is there an emoji for that?

I guess basic laws of physics had to be removed from these scientists undergrad curriculum to make room for gender studies.

Trying to be open minded here… it might work using waste heat to heat the liquid metal but that will never be enough of course to capture all the co2 produced.

Power from otherwise ineffective wind turbines and solar panels, or even concentrated solar could be use to heat the liquid metal. But I don’t see the economics working out, unless the CO2 producing plants use off-peak renewable energy which could be free or even come with payment.

Still there’s the added expense of the equipment. And all of it just to make science-illiterate bureaucrats feel better about the weather.

James Bull
Reply to  PCman999
January 21, 2022 5:20 am

“Australian researchers have developed a smart and super-efficient new way…” 
To spend large amounts of other peoples money and get themselves prizes for doing it.

There I finished it for you.

James Bull

January 20, 2022 11:14 am

> “The “bubble column” method starts with liquid metal being heated to about 100-120C.”

The “bubble column” method starts with liquid metal being heated by fossil fuels to about 100-120C.

There. Fixed. Just like solar cells and windmills are inefficient coal batteries.

Gary Pearse
January 20, 2022 11:24 am

To reduce the carbon dioxide to carbon (from whence it came) requires input of a greater amount of energy than the burning of it produced (losses in the process, entropy changes and operation of the process (melting metal, etc).

The only avenue is an agent that would work for nothing, like a bacterium. This is unlikely to exist because if it did, there would be no CO2 in the soils or the sea and ultimately the atmosphere. This is one of those “breakthroughs” that we never hear about again.

January 20, 2022 11:26 am

Comment from today’s ‘Engineer’ (my bold)

“Ian Watson-Walker 19th January 2022 at 1:28 pm
Okay, so it splits the carbon dioxide into solid carbon (requiring ~94kcal/mol) and what? Gallium oxide, Ga2O2 at ~ -260kcal/mole? Indium oxide In2O2 at ~ -222kcal/mol? Either of these reactions should operate happily at 100°-120°C, but both metals are quite expensive so will have to be regenerated from their oxides – and the energy required will be more than double that released when the original carbon was burned. Where will the energy for this metal recovery come from, and at what cost?

Reply to  saveenergy
January 20, 2022 7:14 pm

They use surplus power from renewables, when it’s producing when it’s not needed and so make it seem wind and solar are useful. What could go wrong?😁👍

January 20, 2022 11:28 am

Carbon reduction’s biggest problem is energy economics. Coal and the carbon black that comes out of this have about the same energy content.

The average coal plant converts 33% of the energy from coal into electricity. If this carbon reduction process is 100% efficient, a coal plant that used all of it’s output to run this process, would deal with 33% of the CO2 – and have no electricity left to do anything useful.

The same is true with gas plants, just replace 33% with 60%.

I’m not sure why anyone is researching this. It seems pointless if you know high school physics.

In theory, you could use renewables to capture CO2 from the atmosphere, then use more energy to reduce the CO2 to carbon black. But that’d be nutty expensive.

January 20, 2022 11:32 am

Does it need a pure CO2 stream or can it be used on combustor exhaust?

John Bell
January 20, 2022 11:33 am

But then you need an entire SECOND coal plant to power this new C02 conversion process for the 1st plant…-

Thomas Gasloli
Reply to  John Bell
January 20, 2022 12:16 pm

Exactly, this is a lot of scientese to covet the fact that this is pure, 100%, BS.

January 20, 2022 11:36 am

Decarbonisation tech instantly converts CO2 to solid carbon

Cool, coal

January 20, 2022 11:36 am

In the future, we will mine asteroids for the necessary galium, indium, copper, and lithium that will make this process viable to save planet Earth.

Mark Broderick
Reply to  DMacKenzie
January 20, 2022 1:16 pm

How will you get to space without fossil fuels ?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  DMacKenzie
January 20, 2022 1:28 pm

Gallium and Indium don’t show up in the 23 most abundant elements of the solar nebula, which is a reasonable proxy for asteroids; albeit copper comes in at number 22. The problem is that the kind of asteroids that have high value (nickel, platinum) will have low concentrations of zinc, gallium, and indium, and are also more abundant than the quasi-crustal asteroids that might have concentrated gallium.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 20, 2022 2:43 pm

I thought the /s was understood..

Reply to  DMacKenzie
January 20, 2022 3:05 pm

Don’t look up!

January 20, 2022 11:39 am

By definition, removing the oxygen from a CO2 atom will require the same amount of energy as was gained when those oxygen atoms combined with the carbon atom.
In reality, due to the always present inefficiencies inherent in any physical system, it will take much more energy to de-oxygenate that carbon atom then you got from burning it in the first place.

Reply to  MarkW
January 20, 2022 1:46 pm

Nearly everyone wants to get something for nothing. Doesn’t happen, honestly.

Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
January 20, 2022 11:55 am

It sounds as if they are oxidizing a metal at a low temperature, which should generate enough energy to keep he process warm. On the other hand, taking the O2 away from the C has a heck of an energy demand. If it happens, heat has to be added (same as the heat produced by combustion/oxidation which is ~33 MJ/kg). There is no free lunch. But it doesn’t have to be high temp heat.

If the heat source can be ambient, or low tech solar, that’s cool! Do not dismiss clever indirect ways to use low grade energy sources to produce high value fuel (which pure carbon definitely is). This is an interesting development because the process temperature is trivial to achieve. Suppose it can be maintained by the waste heat temperature from the cooling tower side of the power station.

In theory (without looking into the black box) if you have 10 MW of 150C solar-sourced heat in a water pipe, plus the right technology, you could turn most of the waste heat from a coal fired power station into almost 10 MW of carbon fuel. The overall effect would be to raise the energy efficiency of the station. It indirectly turns solar thermal (which is cheap to build to shipyard specs) into electricity. It would turn many high tech generation sources into stranded assets. It could be fun to watch that happen.

Reply to  Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
January 20, 2022 1:45 pm

The problem, as others have eluded to, is that fossil power plants do not produce pure CO2. CO2 flue gases contain low percentage levels of O2, which will preferentially react with the gallium-indium metal.

Intelligent Dasein
January 20, 2022 12:16 pm

I’ve always thought that someone should market a solar-powered machine that generates liquid hydrocarbons from atmospheric CO2. Yes, I know the process is not efficient, but it does not have to be since the input power is passive. It’s not a solution to any energy problems, but it would be nice to have a home supply of gasoline on tap.

Joseph Zorzin
January 20, 2022 12:20 pm

so the process of converting CO2 to solid carbon would use only “green” energy- we’ll have to refer to the final product as green carbon?

meanwhile, over at Yale: “From Fertilizer to Fuel: Can ‘Green’ Ammonia Be a Climate Fix?”

Smart Rock
January 20, 2022 12:20 pm

The big question is – how much energy will the process consume. Since the gallium oxide formed will have to be reduced to the metal for re-use (last time I checked, 99% pure gallium sold for $3 a gram so no one is going to take the oxide to the landfill) this will probably be the main energy consuming part of the operation.

The energy required to split CO2 into C + O2 will be (at the very least) equal to the energy released by burning carbon in the first place. There is no free lunch in chemistry, just as in human affairs. Most likely the energy consumption will be a significant multiple of the energy released by burning carbon.

Oh, of course (silly me) the energy will be provided by solar panels and wind turbines, which means (as we all know) that it’s clean, renewable and getting cheaper by the day. So that’s all right then. Had me worried for a minute.

Another taxpayer-funded boondoggle.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Smart Rock
January 20, 2022 1:31 pm

There seems to be a common problem that these technologist ‘wunderkinds’ don’t differentiate between what is physically possible and what is economically possible.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 21, 2022 2:27 am

That ability is one of the main differences between scientists and engineers.

Reply to  Smart Rock
January 20, 2022 1:50 pm

There is educational experience gained.

All of the grad students and post docs working on the project will learn how to swindle taxpayers.

Reply to  Smart Rock
January 21, 2022 4:20 am

The process doesn’t use much energy, which is how they sell it as viable. Mining the materials for the process is a whole different story.

January 20, 2022 12:34 pm

Does one detect a faint whiff of snake oil here?

David Anderson
January 20, 2022 12:39 pm

Our process does not use very high temperatures

Merely 100 deg C above room temperature.

Clyde Spencer
January 20, 2022 12:49 pm

This method depends on the use of a gallium alloy. From the USGS, “Gallium is not produced in the United States, and demand is satisfied by imports, primarily high-purity material from France and low-purity material from Kazakhstan and Russia.” At least the source isn’t China!

January 20, 2022 1:00 pm

If they actually figure out a way to pull and keep CO2 out of the atmosphere we need to get the left out of power NOW because this will kill us.

CO2 was at starvation levels before fossil fuel burning started to raise it to a safer level.

The NASA website’s CO2 page used to say that the minimum level of CO2 for sustaining life was about 400ppm, which we had not yet reached at that point.

Evidence from the last glacial period shows that some species of trees were very hard pressed to survive.

Temperatures and CO2 have been on downward trends, supporting a shrinking biosphere, since the Jurassic.

If not for people, life was headed down. We can do something to keep that descent from continuing, but the eco-freaks are trying to undo us.

Gunga Din
January 20, 2022 1:04 pm

So the process produces Carbon.
Wouldn’t Carbon Taxes make it unsustainable?

January 20, 2022 1:04 pm

Wouldn’t it be easier just to pump the CO2 to the bottom of the ocean and let it bubble up from there?

The plankton would love the extra co2 when it floats up to the twilight zone and above, and if there is extra o2 in the same feed then all the other sea creatures would benefit.

Reply to  PCman999
January 20, 2022 1:40 pm

Or, the top down approach, which is more natural, works too.

David A
Reply to  PCman999
January 20, 2022 10:28 pm

All that CO2 would cause the oceans to boil.

Rud Istvan
January 20, 2022 1:07 pm

Reminds me of Skyonic, written up in the Details chapter of The Arts of Truth. They actually got $25million from the US to build and operate a ‘Skymine’ using sodium hydroxide to capture CO2. Cheaper than EGaIn LM, but same fatal energy flaws. Based on that fed grant, raised $128 million from the same sort of people who would buy the Brooklyn Bridge.
Skyonic still exists as a subsidiary of Eaton, but not in the carbon capture business.

January 20, 2022 1:11 pm

Wait a second… does this mean the glaciers will increase, and the climate get colder? Perhaps the increased energy consumption to execute this process, will balance it out./sarc

Pat Frank
January 20, 2022 1:13 pm

The liquid metal is called EGaIn. It’s 75 wt.% Gallium and 25 wt.% Indium.

The reaction converting CO₂ to elemental carbon produces gallium oxide, Ga₂O₃.

And from where does the energy come for electrolysis of the original metal oxides to produce these expensive pure metallic elements? Ummmm.

The whole enterprise is a very large net energy loss. All cost, no benefit.

One of those involved posted about it on LinkedIn. He looked for scalable and economic advantage using a large array of solar PV.

My response there was, “Fat Chance.”

There’s nothing more idiotic than highly educated idiocy. It’s incredible.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Pat Frank
January 20, 2022 3:25 pm

The process to convert SiO2 to Si metal uses coal!

Joao Martins
January 20, 2022 1:23 pm

Decarbonisation tech instantly converts CO2 to solid carbon
Coal, graphite or girls best friends?

January 20, 2022 1:26 pm

The law of conservation of energy (Energy cannot be created nor destroyed) has been destroyed. Now we feed the new carbon back to the steam boiler, and hey presto we produce more power than we consume. And now pigs can be seen flying accompanied by unicorns.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Alex
January 22, 2022 7:16 am

Not a problem. I believe the latest Nobel prize for economics went to a group of Keynesian Klowns who ‘demonstrated’ that raising the minimum wage increases employment. In other words, the economic Law of Demand (higher price / lower demand) has now been overturned. This, of course, is just par for the course of post-modernism, which is the the tip of the left’s spear as it continues to march through the institutions.

January 20, 2022 1:35 pm

Even if this worked at scale the problem remains…the Leftists want the oil, gas and coal to STAY IN THE GROUND and usher in an extractive, nuclear power free world, much smaller and more highly controlled than the one that exists now. Global Warming/Climate Change = Fence posts and barbed wire.

January 20, 2022 1:59 pm

If you look at this from the point of view of thermodynamics you still need to use a huge amount of energy to force CO2 to revert to carbon and oxygen. It is combustion of coal in reverse. Not possible to do this without using more energy than would be obtained by burning the carbon in the first place. Only will work if you have access to unlimited low cost energy. In which case you could use the energy to reverse combustion of CO2 and water to create hydrocarbon fuels!

January 20, 2022 2:02 pm

Carbon capture is the super capacitor of grant seekers.

January 20, 2022 2:10 pm

This new technology could have been interesting if its useful effect was anything other than an expensive method of producing carbon out of CO2.

January 20, 2022 2:25 pm

Seem a bit odd to use liquid metal reduce CO2 to carbon. You are basically reversing the coal combustion process and you have to recover the energy that the combustion process released.

One thing Australia has a lot of that most other countries don’t is warm shallow seas. This is essential to taking dissolved CO2 in sea water, reacting it with the alkaline earth minerals it contains and precipitating out CaCO3 or MgCO3. They would be uniquely suited to take advantage of this sequestering method without violating any laws of thermodynamics.

david chorley
January 20, 2022 2:26 pm

The only effective way of sequestering CO2, assuming that is desirable is to grow grain in the Midwest and bury it in huge holes in the southwestern desert, so that when we realize what a monumental disaster it was we can burn the the petrified corn in power stations.

January 20, 2022 2:48 pm

CO2 for a green and equitable world.

January 20, 2022 3:17 pm

Probably needs more research. Much more.

Tom in Florida
January 20, 2022 3:29 pm

How does making carbon “decarbonize” anything? I think the ridiculousness of referring to CO2 as “carbon” is exposed here.

January 20, 2022 3:40 pm

Compare space, energy expenditure (heating metal, pumping CO2, extracting/purifying CO2) per kilo “solid” carbon against equivalent mass produced in a peat bog. Award the government grant to the winner.

With free energy, you could do anything.

Forrest Gardener
January 20, 2022 3:41 pm

Or you could just plant some trees.

January 20, 2022 3:43 pm

We have plants, bacteria and phytoplankton that take CO2 out of the atmosphere at no cost and put O2 back. I can’t see how this is better. In fact I think I am being snowed.

January 20, 2022 3:44 pm

Sincere Thanks to all of the authors of the articles, the posters (even those demonstrating no Critical Thinking skills), and WUWT. As an 86 year-young guy (my ‘identifier’) with limited formal education, I find this Site SO stimulating! (scientifically speaking) Thanks so much!

Reply to  sturmudgeon
January 20, 2022 3:45 pm

Also.. FUN!

January 20, 2022 3:47 pm

Do they also have a process to reverse the oxidization of the metal(s) used? or is this currently only half the job, a deadend, based on consumables & waste products?

Sounds more like fantasies than facts regarding the practical & economic use of such technology with sufficient scale.

January 20, 2022 4:19 pm

Having been in process development and scale-up for 30 years, I cringe and then run away when I hear the words “easily scaleable”

January 20, 2022 4:47 pm

Welcome in LA LA land. I am literally rolling on the floor laughing. EGaln means that this is an alloy of gallium and indium. Indium is incredibly rare and is most of the time a by-product of the extraction of Zn (either in VMS or SEDEX deposits). The annual worldwide production is about 1200T.
how can one seriously believe that this process will be ever more than a simple laboratory curiosity?

January 20, 2022 5:35 pm

Solid carbon? So, it makes fuel? What a great tech.

January 20, 2022 5:37 pm

If you could get the carbon to deposit as diamonds it could be self funding

Reply to  Patrick
January 21, 2022 2:29 am

Well apart from the fact that it would flood the market with diamonds, making them much lower value.

Reply to  Patrick
January 21, 2022 10:50 am

DeBeers family might have something to say about that.

Craig from Oz
January 20, 2022 5:42 pm

Australian researchers have developed a smart and super-efficient new way…

Well good to know they have developed a New Way. Developing an old way would possibly be plagiarism.

Also the words ‘smart’ and ‘super-efficient’. Weasels want their words back.

I had to sit through 60mins of internal training on Cost Benefit Analysis yesterday at the Day Job. Sure I slept though most of it, but have a high confidence that the word ‘super’ was never uttered. It is a meaningless term unless a point of reference can be established.

The target audience for this media release are who exactly?

January 20, 2022 6:29 pm

Can we devise a publicity campaign for cyanide capsules? We should be able to make a bundle selling them to the public.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  AndyHce
January 21, 2022 11:23 pm

“)n the Beach” is the 1959 film starring Ava Gardner, made around Melbourne Australia and with a plot of the end of global people because of the over-use a radiation-laden nuclear bombs.
The situation has become hopeless, so the Government has developed a program on handing out free suicide pills. (I kid you not). In the interests of a fair deal, there is a scene where a lady bureaucrat with a clipboard is marking off the names of people getting the free Government favour, just in case someone manages to sneak an extra one. Geoff S

David s
January 20, 2022 6:32 pm

Looks like they are converting CO2 into little charcoal briquettes perfect for the backyard barbecue. Or grind them up in a pulverizer on a coal fired boiler. They should be about like anthracite coal but without polutants like sulfur or mercury.

Loren C. Wilson
January 20, 2022 6:39 pm

The only way to reduce the carbon atom to elemental carbon is to either add energy to push the reaction forward or use a material that wants oxygen more than carbon. There are few metals that can strip the oxygen away from carbon and since they oxidize, they will have to be refined again to be reused, requiring more energy than the energy produced by burning whatever made the CO2 in the first place. Sounds like a losing proposition and completely infeasible.

January 20, 2022 7:13 pm

Ice 9

January 20, 2022 7:32 pm

So how long before the metal is oxidised and you need to turn it back into metal again?

Are these just ways to get rid of energy because who needs it really?

January 20, 2022 9:52 pm

You reduce CO2 with Gallium to form Carbon and Galliumoxide.

Question: How do you recover Gallium from Galliumoxide to make it available again for the process.

Voodooooo Science indeed !

January 20, 2022 11:43 pm

The base idea that CO2 needs to be removed from the atmosphere is wrong.
Photosynthesis has been around for a couple billion years.
Photosynthesis uses CO2 and solar energy to produce carbohydrate molecules.
O2 is released into the atmosphere as a byproduct.
Those molecules are used by the plant to produce more cells.
Later life forms found out you could eat the plants and use O2 to metabolize the sugar.
All life on Earth depends on CO2 in the atmosphere.
It’s called the biogeochemical carbon cycle.
The Earth needs MORE CO2 in the atmosphere, not less.

Geoffrey Williams
January 20, 2022 11:52 pm

It’s a joke ! This just a laboritory experiment with no concept of a scaled up version.
It would have to be scaled up 1,000’s of times for industrial applications . .

January 21, 2022 1:53 am

I’ve discovered an easier way. You take this seed and place it at depth in soil and you water it. This process very cheaply converts Co2 to carbon!
If you then chop it down and cut it up into lumber and build crap with it it is stored forever. You then just plant another seed and start the process over!
Send a billion dollars and I’ll let you in my secret!

January 21, 2022 2:45 am

Scary stuff. I wouldn’t want to live near it. CO2 is essential for life, not just plants but animals.
I’m happy to let people play silly games with Renewables, but this is different.

January 21, 2022 4:26 am

A quick search shows the worldwide production of each of the metals involved is about 1,000 tons per year, despite their high prices. They only need ramp that up to 6,000,000,000 per year for the steel and cement industry to capture their carbon.

AGW is Not Science
January 21, 2022 7:20 am

$64 question – when they implement this non-solution to the imaginary problem and CO2 levels continue to climb anyway, will they finally admit they are wrong about human CO2 emissions driving the atmospheric CO2 level?!

Reply to  AGW is Not Science
January 21, 2022 10:52 am

$64 question

I’ll say, NO

Charles Higley
January 21, 2022 1:14 pm

First off, 110-120 deg C is very low, so what is the metal, bismuth?

Second, where does the oxygen go from the CO2? It is likely creating metal oxides that then have to be dealt with to rejuvenate the metal.

There is no free lunch and this technology has to use energy (waste) to produce a product that is simply coal for all intents and purposes.

Co2 is plant food and has no downsides. So, what is this stupid endeavor supposed to accomplish?

January 21, 2022 2:02 pm

“Carbon Sequestration” The stupidest Idea ever proposed by MAN……..

January 21, 2022 6:32 pm

The carbon black produced by this process is nothing like coal.

One of the key qualities of thermal coal is the Volatile Matter. Most thermal coals are 30 odd% of it. This is what makes some coals very easy to burn, and others, with less than 10% are notoriously difficult to ignite, some will even go close to putting a furnace out.

January 21, 2022 10:27 pm

Wonderful! Now, if we could only heat the metal without using CO2-emitting backup generators.

Trying to Play Nice
January 22, 2022 5:34 am

The dumbing down of RMIT University is complete.

Kevin A
January 22, 2022 5:39 am

I hope to live long enough to see a politician write legislation making any form of CO² suppression illegal from the context of starving plants which results in less food in the food chain or in other words, for the children…

Eric Vieira
January 22, 2022 8:44 am

What they don’t mention is the energy required per mol to reduce the gallium oxide produced. Is the gallium oxide in the liquid metal directly reduced via electrolysis ?
Anyway, there’s no free lunch …

January 23, 2022 9:19 am

I’m a little curious as to how they’re proposing to heat the metal they’re melting in order to complete this process.

Richard Briscoe
January 24, 2022 9:20 am

Other than mercury, what metal is liquid between 100 and 120 Celsius?

January 24, 2022 1:31 pm

3 questions:

  1. How much energy input is required to regenerate the galium oxide?
  2. What temperature does the regenerator have to operate at?
  3. What special alloys/coatings are required to protect the regenrator?

I guess you could use hydrogen to regenerate the galium oxide, but this whole thing is a mess. This is a fraud with regards to CCS. But it might have some cool niche applications.

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