A team of researchers at George Washington University report success in creating carbon fibers (also known as graphite) from atmospheric carbon dioxide, using a solar array as a heat and electricity source. Carbon is seen today as being both a curse (as a greenhouse gas), and a critical material for use in high tech products (e.g. carbon nanotubes, graphene).
An article from the MIT Technology Review explains the process:
The process requires molten lithium carbonate, with another compound, lithium oxide, dissolved in it. The lithium oxide combines with carbon dioxide in the air, forming more lithium carbonate. When voltage is applied across two electrodes immersed in the molten carbonate, the resulting reaction produces oxygen, carbon—which deposits on one of the electrodes—and lithium oxide, which can be used to capture more carbon dioxide and start the process again.
Head researcher Stuart Licht, a chemistry professor at GWU sees the potential for this process to be used as a means of reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere while at the same time being a source of a raw material that could one day be used to replace steel, aluminum and concrete due to superior strength, lightness and conductivity.
Having a clean energy source is essential if one of the goals is to reduce atmospheric carbon. This could be another future application for LENR if it comes online commercially.