• KIT researchers working on carbon black production from direct air capture of CO2

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

A novel means of carbon dioxide utilisation is being researched at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, as Gasworld reports. The research, coordinated by Dr Benjamin Dietrich, is scheduled to last three years, and is being undertaken in conjunction with INERATEC GmbH, a spinoff of KIT, and Climeworks, a spinoff of ETH Zurich. Under development is a process to produce carbon black from CO2 drawn from the atmosphere as a means of drawing down the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (although one suspects that it could be adapted to industrial facilities, too). The benefits, if the technology proved to be workable and economic, would be twofold – there would not be a need to store CO2 geologically, and at the same time the carbon black could be sold for use in other industries. To date, the steps within the process have each been successfully tested, but they have not been integrated. Those steps are capture from ambient air using an absorber, conversion (using renewable hydrogen) into methane and water, and then the bubbling of the methane through liquid tin, prompting pyrolysis of the methane, which produces hydrogen and powdered carbon. (The hydrogen is recirculated into the process.) The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is providing €1.5 million (US$1.65 million) for the research.