Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Can We Turn CO2 into a Useable Fuel? Scientists Say They Have Found a Way

ORNL’s Yang Song (seated), Dale Hensley (standing left) and Adam Rondinone examine a carbon nanospike sample with a scanning electron microscope. (hi-res image) (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
Scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee report that they have found a way to convert carbon dioxide into ethanol, a usable fuel.  The team used a spiky nanotechnology-based catalyst made out of carbon, copper, and nitrogen.  When they applied voltage to the catalyst, CO2 dissolved in water turned into ethanol, with a yield of 63 percent.  “We discovered somewhat by accident that this material works,” said Adam Rondinone, the Oak Ridge scientist that led the research.  Because the materials are relatively cheap and the reaction can happen at room temperature, Rondinone and his colleagues say the technique could be scaled up to store renewable energy as ethanol, for example, or convert CO2 emissions into fuel.  Finding new ways to use CO2 “in order to displace a fossil feedstock,” the scientists wrote in the study, “is an appropriate intermediate step towards a carbon-free future.”

Read more at Can We Turn CO2 into a Useable Fuel?  Scientists Say They Have Found a Way

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