A team of engineers from the University of Illinois at Chicago, USA, announced the creation of the world's first fully rechargeable carbon dioxide battery. They managed to solve the problem of the accumulation of carbon in the catalyst, due to which earlier such structures quickly failed. The prototype of the new battery has already worked for 500 cycles, with the previous rates of 5-10 cycles.
The accumulation of carbon reduced the activity of the catalyst, inhibited the diffusion of carbon dioxide and, in addition, provoked the degradation of the electrolyte in the charged state of the battery. The solution was the use of new materials, namely nano-flakes of molybdenum disulfide for the catalyst on the cathode and the use of a new type of hybrid electrolyte from an ionic liquid and dimethyl sulfoxide.
Thanks to this, the "output product" of the battery's work is a composite substance - carbon is included in its composition, and not emitted in its pure form. And therefore does not react with battery components, does not accumulate and does not interfere. Carbon is fully involved in the recycling process and therefore the battery can be called "carbon-neutral", which is the key to increasing its life.
Although 500 recharge cycles is already good, the technology is still experimental and it is too early to talk about the creation of commercial versions of carbon dioxide batteries. Rather, it is a demonstration of yet another solution to the old problem of what to do with excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, how to benefit from it. As for the implementation of the concept itself, such batteries can indeed be created in the near future.