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Scientists found a power source with negative carbon emissions

Published Jun 16th, 2024 9:24PM EDT
Image: darkfoxelixir / Adobe

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The discovery of a clean power source has been a scientific goal for decades at this point. While some are looking for ways to create fusion power, others are looking in different directions for carbon-neutral power solutions. Now, though, scientists may have taken things a step further and created a carbon-negative power source.

According to a new research paper published in the journal Energies, researchers were able to create a renewable power source using algae. The process essentially hijacks photosynthesis, which is the natural process that plants use to turn carbon dioxide into food.

The researchers found that they were able to extract energy from the plant by suspending the algae in a two-millimeter solution within an anode and a cathode chamber and separating it by a honeycomb-shaped proton exchange membrane. Further, the power source is a completely carbon-negative technology.

Taipei Taiwan city view
One day, entire cities may be able to take advantage of carbon-negative power sources like this. Image source: clin0000/Adobe

That’s because the only byproduct that it creates is water, and the entire process is started by taking in carbon dioxide. This means it is more than just a zero-emission technology, as it is actually taking carbon from the atmosphere and not putting more out there.

The entire process works by capturing the electrons that the algae create during photosynthesis and harnessing them to create electricity. So far, the researchers have only discovered a maximum possible terminal voltage of 1.0V from a single micro photosynthetic power cell.

That means scaling up a carbon-negative power source to actually power a city is going to be a different matter altogether. However, scientists believe that with enough research and development, we could see it scaled up to a point where entire cities may be able to take advantage of the power source, thus helping to cut down on carbon emissions significantly.

And, because the researchers do not use any hazardous gases or microfibers, you wouldn’t need to worry about extra disposal issues in the long run—something that we currently deal with due to how difficult it is to dispose of silicon computer chips used to help control many current power systems.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.