Story: CO2 reusability; 15-03-2023;
A research team, led by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory in collaboration with Northern Illinois University, has discovered a new electrocatalyst that converts carbon dioxide (CO2) and water into ethanol with very high energy efficiency, high selectivity for the desired final product and low cost.
Ethanol is a particularly desirable commodity because it is an ingredient in nearly all U.S. petrol and is widely used as an intermediate product in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics industries.
“The process resulting from our catalyst would contribute to the circular carbon economy, which entails the reuse of carbon dioxide,” said Di-Jia Liu, senior chemist in Argonne's Chemical Sciences and Engineering division and a UChicago CASE scientist in the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, University of Chicago.
This process would do so by electrochemically converting the CO2 emitted from industrial processes, such as fossil fuel power plants or alcohol fermentation plants, into valuable commodities at reasonable cost.
“With this research, we've discovered a new catalytic mechanism for converting carbon dioxide and water into ethanol,” said Tao Xu, a professor in physical chemistry and nanotechnology from Northern Illinois University.
He added, “The mechanism should also provide a foundation for development of highly efficient electrocatalysts for carbon dioxide conversion to a vast array of value-added chemicals.”
According to Liu, “We could couple the electrochemical process of CO2-to-ethanol conversion using our catalyst to the electric grid and take advantage of the low-cost electricity available from renewable sources like solar and wind during off-peak hours.”
Because the process runs at low temperature and pressure, it can start and stop rapidly in response to the intermittent supply of the renewable electricity.
"We have prepared several new catalysts using this approach and found that they are all highly efficient in converting CO2 to other hydrocarbons," said Liu. “We plan to continue this research in collaboration with industry to advance this promising technology.”
NASA has developed a new technology that can convert the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (C02) into fuel by using solar-powered, thin-film devices. Metal oxide thin films are fabricated to produce a photoelectrochemical cell that is powered by solar energy.
Using a liquid metal catalyst, greenhouse gas carbon dioxide can be removed from the atmosphere and changed into solid carbon that can be stored or used for other products.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), 32.5 billion tonnes of CO2 were generated globally in 2017. Converting this much CO2, even if it were possible, would result in mountains of solid carbon. But finding uses for the pure carbon particles, such as electrodes for batteries or supercapacitors, could help make the process financially viable, while also removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. “While more research needs to be done, it’s a crucial first step to delivering solid storage of carbon,” said Daeneke.
Researchers led by Oxford University have developed a strategy for creating jet fuel out of natural greenhouse gas, joining a growing list of firms and aviation organizations aiming to tackle mounting climate change concerns.
Last week, the research team in Britain published a study on a novel scientific process that would transform carbon dioxide in the air into an alternative jet fuel that could power existing aircraft.
"We are very excited about our novel process to transform CO2 into fuel," says company CEO Derek McLeish. "Based on our research to date, we believe that we will be able to demonstrate our technology within the next several months with a prototype that can convert a stream of CO2 into an immediately flammable liquid fuel."
Environmentalists have long believed that commercial flying damages the climate with the massive amount of CO2 that passenger jets emit globally; Air travel accounts for about 2.5 percent of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions.
The problem is rooted in the burning of fossil fuels, a process that essentially takes carbon buried beneath the Earth’s surface and releases it into the atmosphere. The process is thought to contribute to global warming.
Data retrieved: December 15-2020;
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Carbon dioxide is a colorless gas with a density about 53% higher than that of dry air. Carbon dioxide molecules consist of a carbon atom covalently double bonded to two oxygen atoms. It occurs naturally in Earth's atmosphere as a trace gas.