Tags: carbon dioxide | ethanol

Carbon Dioxide to Ethanol: Scientists Accidentally Discover Method

Image: Carbon Dioxide to Ethanol: Scientists Accidentally Discover Method

Scientists have stumbled upon a way to turn carbon dioxide into ethanol that can be used to power generators and vehicles. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
 

By    |   Wednesday, 19 Oct 2016 03:42 PM

Scientists in Tennessee have happened upon an efficient method for turning carbon dioxide into ethanol, a fuel that could be used to power generators and vehicles.

The team of researchers was trying to find a process of multiple chemical reactions that would turn CO2 into a usable fuel when they realized their first step had already achieved their goal, according to Popular Mechanics.

Nanotechnology was used to combine copper and carbon on a silicon surface, yielding reactions that are precise, with few contaminants. The conversion process works at room temperature, so it is easy to start and stop and requires little energy cost to make work.

The scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) described the discovery as “pushing the combustion reaction backwards,” Time Magazine reported. “By using common materials, but arranging them with nanotechnology, we figured out how to limit the side reactions and end up with the one thing that we want,” study author Adam Rondinone said in a press release.

ORNL scientists say the carbon dioxide-to-ethanol process they discovered could be easily scaled for large-scale use. Energy companies could store the ethanol produced and use it as needed during times of fuel shortages or as a low-cost alternative to current fuel sources. It also could be the solution climate scientists have been searching for to combat climate change by removing excess CO2 from the atmosphere.

The researchers want to study this process further and make it more efficient before attempting to deploy it on a large scale in commercial and industrial applications.

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Scientists in Tennessee have happened upon an efficient method for turning carbon dioxide into ethanol, a fuel that could be used to power generators and vehicles.
carbon dioxide, ethanol
261
2016-42-19
Wednesday, 19 Oct 2016 03:42 PM
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