Researchers just accidentally discovered a process that turns CO2 directly into ethanol

If researchers can a way to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into useable fuel - and if that’s achievable at an industrial scale - it would, literally, change the world. Just last month, scientists declared that we hit the maximum levels of atmospheric CO2 in 4 million years, and it’s not going to drop ever. Meaning humans will never be able to drop to 'safe' levels again. So what if we, somehow, turn CO2 into a fuel source, this will not only decrease the carbon level but also help us to stop releasing more CO2 into atmosphere.


This idea is, no doubt, amazing. And that’s what scientists have achieved. Researchers have developed a process that can accomplish this goal with simply a single catalyst. One of the team members, Adam Rondinone, from the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, said:

 We discovered somewhat by accident that this material worked.

Rondinone and his associates had made a catalyst using carbon, copper, and nitrogen, by implanting copper nanoparticles into nitrogen-laced carbon hooks measuring just 50-80 nanometres tall. (1 nanometre = one-millionth of a millimetre.)

So when they used an electric current of just 1.2 volts, the catalyst transformed a solution of CO2 dissolved in water into ethanol, with a yield of 63%.

This result was a complete surprise for the team, because it’s efficiently reversing the combustion procedure consuming a very modest amount of electricity, and furthermore, it was able to do this while reaching a relatively high production of ethanol - they were guessing to end up with the considerably less desired chemical, methanol.

So the team got practical quantity of ethanol, which the US needs billions of gallons of each year to add to gasoline.

Rondinone said in a press statement:

We’re taking carbon dioxide, a waste product of combustion, and we’re pushing that combustion reaction backwards with very high selectivity to a useful fuel. Ethanol was a surprise - it’s extremely difficult to go straight from carbon dioxide to ethanol with a single catalyst.


The reason, as explained by researchers is that they were able to accomplish such high yields because the nanostructure of the catalyst was easy to operate and regulate to get the wanted results.

The outcomes have been issued in ChemistrySelect.
This post was written by Umer Abrar. To contact the author of this post, write to mirzavadoodulbaig@gmail.com or add/follow him on facebook :

Researchers just accidentally discovered a process that turns CO2 directly into ethanol Researchers just accidentally discovered a process that turns CO2 directly into ethanol Reviewed by Umer Abrar on 10/19/2016 Rating: 5

5 comments:

  1. It is really going to depend on the cost of production.
    Energy is required to produce the ethanol.
    Where will this energy come from ? fossil fuels?
    The process would not be over 100% efficient, a loss of energy will happen.
    Good concept though :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Everyone's missing the point... If you can indeed use electricity and produce ethanol, then this is a giant carbon sequestration battery!

    We can take a source of energy, store it, and then use the resulting "stored energy" in the form of ethanol, when or where the energy is needed.

    There are plenty of energy sources that aren't used properly because the energy cannot be channeled to where or when the energy is needed.

    Sure, there's loss in every conversion. But when you're talking about energy that was going to waste anyway, even a low recovery ratio is better than pure waste.

    So generating electricity in the middle of desert, or in a geological active thermal plant, or in the middle of of a hot day, and viola making it into a transportable ethanol energy unit, is extremely compelling.

    Arguably, one could create an entirely closed system: first taking energy from external world, using carbon to create ethanol; and later on burn the ethanol to release energy to the external world. And this then becomes one giant battery system.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Everyone's missing the point... If you can indeed use electricity and produce ethanol, then this is a giant carbon sequestration battery!

    We can take a source of energy, store it, and then use the resulting "stored energy" in the form of ethanol, when or where the energy is needed.

    There are plenty of energy sources that aren't used properly because the energy cannot be channeled to where or when the energy is needed.

    Sure, there's loss in every conversion. But when you're talking about energy that was going to waste anyway, even a low recovery ratio is better than pure waste.

    So generating electricity in the middle of desert, or in a geological active thermal plant, or in the middle of of a hot day, and viola making it into a transportable ethanol energy unit, is extremely compelling.

    Arguably, one could create an entirely closed system: first taking energy from external world, using carbon to create ethanol; and later on burn the ethanol to release energy to the external world. And this then becomes one giant battery system.

    ReplyDelete

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