One of the biggest factors hampering the growth of renewable energy is storage. Sun and wind are intermittent and dependent on geography, requiring energy storage and transportation. Batteries are a means of addressing the storage problem, but they have a low-energy density, and are relatively expensive and difficult to transport. A researcher at West Virginia University will be investigating one possible alternative that could potentially create a route to “green” hydrocarbons.
David Mebane, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, will be investigating the conversion of carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide and oxygen at high temperatures using a solid oxide electrolysis cell. He will be joined on the project by Stephen Nonnenmann, an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.