Scientists Accidentally Discover A Method That Turns Carbon Dioxide Directly Into Ethanol
October 26th, 2016
Process That Turns CO2 Directly Into Ethanol
Discoveries are part of science. Penicillin, Radio-Activity and many other have always surprised human race. Similarly, owing to the mounting levels of pollution people have always worked for ideas on how science can help in figuring out possibilities for reducing pollution and how the pollutants can be converted into fuel sources.
This September, the level of atmospheric carbon has officially surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) crossing the safe level of 350 ppm. The level has hit the highest point of atmospheric CO2 in 4 million years. It was a point that triggered Scientists of United States Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to develop a process that could convert CO2 into a fuel source. The team of Researchers have proved that and surprisingly using just one single catalyst. The Researchers were already looking for a way to convert CO2 into ethanol but they had expected that it would require multiple steps and catalysts. But the process was achieved with a single catalyst.
Firstly, Carbon, Copper and Nitrogen were embedded by carbon nanoparticles into nitrogen laced carbon spikes measuring just 50-80 nanometers tall. Then the electric current of 1.2 volts was applied. The catalyst converted a solution of CO2 dissolved in water into ethanol with a yield of 63 percent. “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,” said Rondinone in a press release.
The results of the process were quite surprising. The combustion process was effectively reversed using a modest amount of electricity. It yielded high amount of ethanol.
Adam Rondinone from the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory said that carbon dioxide was taken as it is a waste product of combustion.
The end product of the process is not a need of time but it can be possible to adjust the cars and energy plants to run on hydrocarbon fuel. The process is cheap and efficient enough to be produced from CO2 but we are certainly not there yet, says Rondinone as reported by ScienceAlert. There are already so many CO2 conversion projects going on which are aiming to do the same thing.
“Ethanol is commonly called as alcohol, ethyl alcohol and drinking alcohol which are produced by the fermentation of sugar by yeast.”