Thursday, October 20, 2016

Science & Technology: Fuel Made from Carbon Dioxide

Accidental discovery could be renewable energy breakthrough (CBS News)

(Courtesy Oak Ridge National Laboratory)
In an unexpected twist of fate, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a process to turn carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into ethanol fuel — a breakthrough with implications for the future of renewable energy.

That discovery, which occurred in 2014 and has been replicated multiple times since then in the nanotechnology lab Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is explained in full in a new study published in ChemistrySelect.

Specifically, the team says it used a catalyst made of carbon, copper and nitrogen and applied voltage to trigger a complex chemical reaction that essentially reverses the combustion process. With the help of the nanotechnology-based catalyst, the solution of carbon dioxide, dissolved in water, becomes ethanol.

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