Turning Trains Into Carbon-capturing Machines

CO2Rail Company and researchers from the University of Sheffield are working to develop Direct Air Capture (DAC), a technology that pulls carbon dioxide from the air. The collaboration hopes to use the equipment in special rail cars in already running trains. DAC rail cars operate by using a significant amount of air that extends into the current of a train to move ambient air into a cylindrical chamber that collects CO2. This eliminates reliance on energy-intensive fans found in stationary DAC operations. A chemical process splits the air from the carbon dioxide and the clean air returns to the atmosphere. The remaining CO2 is stored in a liquid reservoir after it is collected and concentrated. It stays until emptied into CO2 rail tank cars. The last step sees the carbon dioxide moved to geological landfill sites or used as value-added feedstock. The University of Sheffield said each process runs from onboard-generated and sustainable energy sources. Peter Styring, a professor in the University of Sheffield’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and the director of the UK Centre for Carbon Dioxide Utilization, said when a train breaks, sustainable energy is wasted. With the new technology, it can use that energy within the global rail network.

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