CO2 to CO Conversion Technology | 06 Nov 2023

Source: PIB

Why in News?

The National Centre of Excellence in Carbon Capture and Utilisation (NCoE-CCU) at IIT Bombay has developed a new technology for converting carbon dioxide (CO2) to carbon monoxide (CO).

  • The technology is energy-efficient and can be used in the steel sector. It aligns with India’s goal for net-zero emissions by 2070.

How Does the CO2 to CO Conversion Technology Work?

  • Working Process:
    • The CO2 to CO conversion technology operates through an electrocatalytic process.
    • Unlike traditional methods that require high temperatures (400-750 °C), and the presence of the equivalent amount of hydrogen, this process can operate at ambient temperatures (25-40 °C) in the presence of water, eliminating the need for high-temperature conditions.
      • The energy for this electrocatalysis reaction can be sourced directly from renewable energy, such as solar panels or windmills, ensuring a carbon-neutral operation. Making it highly energy-efficient process and environmentally friendly and sustainable.
  • Significance for the Steel Industry:
    • CO is a crucial chemical in the steel industry, used in the conversion of iron ores to metallic iron in blast furnaces.
      • CO is a widely used chemical in the industry especially in the form of syn gas.
    • Traditionally, CO is produced through the partial oxidation of coke/coal, resulting in significant CO2 emissions.
      • The new CO2 to CO conversion technology presents an opportunity to establish a circular economy, reducing carbon footprint and associated costs in steel production.

Electrocatalytic Process

  • It is a catalytic process that involves the direct transfer of electrons between an electrode and reactants.
  • This process is environmentally friendly, efficient, and inexpensive. It can be used in many sustainable energy technologies.

Carbon monoxide (CO)

  • It is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is slightly less dense than air.
  • Sources of CO: CO is a byproduct of the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons. Common sources include burning fossil fuels like natural gas, petrol, coal and oil, wood smoke, car and truck exhausts etc.
  • It is toxic to humans insofar as it forms a complex thereby displacing oxygen from the hemoglobin of the blood.
  • In the atmosphere CO is short lived because of the role it plays in the formation of ground-level ozone.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Q. Consider the following: (2019)

  1. Carbon monoxide
  2. Methane
  3. Ozone
  4. Sulphur dioxide

Which of the above are released into atmosphere due to the burning of crop/biomass residue?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2, 3 and 4 only
(c) 1 and 4 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

Ans: (d)