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IIT-Bombay researchers patent technology that will save crores for steel industry and reduce emissions

This innovation not only addresses critical environmental challenges but also presents a viable solution for reducing carbon emissions while bolstering the steel industry's sustainability, aligned with India's ambitious goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.

IIT Bombay researchers patent technology that will save crores for steel industry and reduce emissions
First Published Nov 3, 2023, 2:45 PM IST

A groundbreaking energy-efficient carbon dioxide (CO2) capture technology has been developed, offering the potential to revolutionize the steel industry while advancing India's aim of achieving net-zero emissions by 2070. Developed by the National Centre of Excellence in Carbon Capture and Utilisation (NCoE-CCU) at IIT Bombay with support from the Department of Science and Technology (DST), this innovation enables the conversion of CO2 into carbon monoxide (CO) under electrocatalytic conditions at ambient temperatures, even in the presence of water.

Dr Arnab Dutta and Dr Vikram Vishal, along with dedicated researchers at the NCoE-CCU, have successfully patented the CO2-to-CO conversion technology. Moreover, their work is set to be published in the prestigious international journal, Nature Communications.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is widely used in the industrial sector, particularly in the form of synthesis gas (syngas). In the steel industry, CO is indispensable for converting iron ores into metallic iron within blast furnaces. However, the traditional method of CO generation involves the partial oxidation of coke or coal, leading to substantial CO2 emissions as a byproduct. 

The innovation developed by IIT Bombay's NCoE-CCU offers a more sustainable approach by converting emitted CO2 into valuable CO. What sets this technology apart is its ability to function at ambient temperatures (25-40 °C) with minimal energy requirements.

This electrocatalytic reaction can efficiently harness energy from renewable sources, such as solar panels or windmills, ensuring a carbon-neutral process for converting CO2 to CO. Notably, this advancement aligns with India's environmental goals and represents a critical pathway for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.

The technology has immense potential for various industrial applications and is currently in the process of scaling up, thanks to the recent incubation of UrjanovaC Private Limited. The steel sector, in particular, stands to benefit from this breakthrough. Additionally, another technology for aqueous-based CO2 capture and conversion to calcium carbonate, originating from DST-supported NCoE-CCU activities, has been licensed to UrjanovaC Private Limited, incubated through SINE at IIT Bombay.

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