I am planning to design an autonomous bot that takes power from a chemical reaction.i was thinking if CO2 produced via some chemical reaction can drive small wheels so as to generate electricity which can be used to move the bot forward.Which chemical reaction for the production of CO2 would be best for that? Thanks.

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    $\begingroup$ If I understand correctly, your plan is to have a chemical reaction that creates CO2, which will drive a mechanical system to generate electricity, which will then be used to power the drive wheels. Why bother with the CO2? You can just have a chemical reaction that generates electricity, like, you know, a battery. $\endgroup$ Feb 21, 2018 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ @NuclearWang About to write basically the same comment but walked away for a few minutes. I don't really get the point of this either. $\endgroup$
    – JMac
    Feb 21, 2018 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ @NuclearWang I am doing this intentionly.The whole purpose of my project is to get energy by cleaner fuels which can be produced via some chemical reaction. $\endgroup$
    – user471651
    Feb 22, 2018 at 3:34
  • $\begingroup$ @user471651 surely using CO2 generation would not be cleaner than say gas? you are still emitting CO2. $\endgroup$
    – L Selter
    Feb 22, 2018 at 14:12

1 Answer 1


Potentially yes. There are a lot of homemade toys which use a reaction between vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to make simple CO2 jet engines.

However if you want to use this sort of reaction to generate more controllable mechanical power for actuators or motors you are giving yourself a lot of problems.

Fighting robots often use compressed CO2 to power pneumatic actuators for weapons and flippers but this is usually stored on-board as pressurised gas rather than generating it on demand (you can failry easily obtain scrap CO2 fire extinguishers for next to nothing) . And while it is a very simple way to get a high speed, high energy actuator it doesn't have very good power density and for anything other than a fairly simple piston actuator the disadvantages tend to outweigh the benefits.


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