Researcher/s: Raven Cagulang, Karlos Leon Trino, Aldrin Lancian
Global warming is a widespread problem not only in the Philippines but also in the entire world. It is one of the unfixable problems in our society. Effects of global warming include heat waves, flooding, drought, and rising sea levels1.
Carbon dioxide is one of the gases that contribute to it. It is a minor but important constituent of the atmosphere2, averaging about 0.033% or 360 ppm (parts per million) by volume3. Out of many heat-trapping gases, CO2 puts us at the greatest risk of irreversible changes. The National Ambient Air Quality Guide Value (NAAQGV) has set a standard of 90 µg/ncm (microgram/normal cubic meter) of carbon dioxide that is in our atmosphere but in select monitoring stations in NCR, all except one of them have exceeded this. The highest recorded is at the MRT Taft Avenue Station in EDSA in Pasay City with 216 µg/ncm4. This is also almost the same case in the metropolitan zone of Xalapa in the state of Veracruz, Mexico, where values exceeded both Mexican and WHO standards5.
Many ways have been done in order to control global warming such as the usage of wind turbines, forestry solutions6, waste management7, and many more but still these are not enough. The use of fossil fuels and other substances that can cause global warming and production of carbon dioxide is also reduced; due to this, prices of electricity and other things that are involved in using these materials are increased19-21.
The researchers had found that there are few studies concerning carbon dioxide turning it to a useful electricity source. A study done showing the potential of carbon dioxide in producing electricity8 is one of the many studies that could change and help our environment. Making a battery is one of the simplest things to be made that can show that there is electricity produced. With this, the researchers want to acquire and make it possible that carbon dioxide assisted by silicon dioxide can be used for electric power generation or has a potential to conduct electricity with its limiting factors being taken into consideration.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
I – Collection of materials
The sodium silicate, being one of the vital chemicals of the experiment, was requested for procurement by the school officials. The sodium bisulfate was made using sodium hydroxide and sulfuric acid11, which were bought by the researchers at Pil Sci Marketing in GSIS Heights, Davao City, alongside the filter paper. The dry ice was purchased at New Snowpack Inc., with their main offices located at Gempesaw St. corner Sta. Ana Ave., Davao City, and their facilities located at V. Mapa St., Davao City. The aluminum metal was purchased at Bangkal Glass and Aluminum Supply, located in Bangkal, Davao City. A stainless steel electronic balance was used and was provided by the researchers. An electronic multimeter was borrowed from Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School's facilities.
II – Creation of the anode, cathode, and electrolyte
The cathode is composed of dry ice and silicon dioxide. The silicon dioxide which is composed of both sodium silicate and sodium bisulfate was made first. In accordance to an existing method9, this was made using a mixture of both sodium silicate and sodium bisulfate solution. The 60 mL sodium silicate was then mixed with 60 mL of water with a 1:1 ratio inside a beaker. In another beaker, 60 mL of the sodium bisulfate solution was placed. The sodium silicate and sodium bisulfate solution were then mixed together. The resulting gel that was formed at the bottom of the liquid was the orthosilicic acid. This was then placed into a porcelain dish and was heated over an alcohol lamp for about 20 minutes. It was then dried, forming silicon dioxide. The process was then repeated 5 times to create a sufficient amount for experimentation.
The anode was made using an aluminum metal sheet.
The leftover NaOH used in creating the sodium bisulfate is used in creating the electrolyte solution, which has a concentration of 0.05%.
III – Testing phase
The experiment process took the researchers 3 days to make. An existing procedure was used to make the battery, with a few modifications and additional trials to the procedure.
In the setup, filter paper was placed above the aluminum metal sheet; the silicon dioxide was placed after with the dry ice being measured afterwards and placed immediately after to ensure the integrity of the dry ice is still intact.
The aluminum metal was used all throughout the three setups according to the measurements used.
Each setup was tested 3 times, with a total of 81 tests conducted. In each test, the multimeter’s terminals were placed on the setup and 5 seconds was allotted to record the amount of conductivity it is giving off. The mean of the 3 tests per setup was used in order to reduce errors.
Then they were all tested for conductivity in 20 DCV.
One-way ANOVA: One-way Analysis of Variance was used to determine the significant difference between the results of the three limiting factors (amount of NaOH, relationship of amount of CO2 and SiO2, and size of aluminum metal) to identify if the following do create an impact on the results.
Mean: To determine the average voltage produced between the 3 tests done to each individual setup.
In testing the difference, the study used 0.05 level of significance. All data gathered from the study were encoded using the IBM3 SPSS software.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The experiment was composed of 96 different trials. With the given evidence, the best overall in the experimentation is the setup involving the highest amount of electrolyte. As having a differently-sized sheet of aluminum metal and having different variations of the relationship of the two interacting cathodes is insignificant enough to create a difference of the produced voltage, having just a miniscule amount of change.
The ANOVA test result showed that there is a significant difference (F=8.848, p < 0.05) on the amount of NaOH used in each setup, but in terms of the relationship between the amount of CO2 and SiO2 , the results showed no significant difference (F=0.028, p > 0.05). Lastly, in terms of the size of aluminum metal, whether it is 5x5, 10x10, or 15x15 cm (centimeters), the results showed that there is also no significant difference (F=2.436, p > 0.05)
With the results given, it is possible that carbon dioxide (CO2) could generate electricity when assisted with silicon dioxide (SiO2). A large amount of electrolyte could significantly change the resulting voltage. However, other factors, such as the amount of cathode and the size of the anode, will not vary the amount of voltage produced, as they only serve to be terminals of the incoming and outgoing current.
With these two products, the following equations can be formed:
CO2 + NaOH = Na2CO3 + H2O
SiO2 + NaOH = Na2SiO3 - H2O
Two results were produced, with a byproduct of H2O, sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) and sodium silicate (Na2SiO3). The latter is placed on the former, resulting in producing electricity, although a small one at that. It has been proven that sodium carbonate could produce electricity with specific atmospheric conditions, such as plain air, argon, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide, at temperatures exceeding 200°C18. This research proves that the same chemical can also produce electricity without the aforementioned factors, only with simple combinations of other compounds, such as sodium silicate and sodium hydroxide.
The researchers would like to recommend the following to further improve the study:
1. To secure carbon dioxide in its gaseous form
2. To find out more on the reasons why carbon dioxide assisted with silicon dioxide produces electricity
3. To see methods on possibly increasing the voltage of the setups
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Raven Cagulang