[til] Today I Learned That CO2 Can Be Processed To Turn Into Ethanol (the discovery itself was accidental)

in #til4 years ago

It's just your regular Friday browsing of Facebook, until you get to stumble upon a link shared by Bill Gates (yes, that Bill Gates).

And the article linked says exactly that:

Scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have discovered a chemical reaction to turn CO2 into ethanol, potentially creating a new technology to help avert climate change. Their findings were published in the journal ChemistrySelect.

The researchers were attempting to find a series of chemical reactions that could turn CO2 into a useful fuel, when they realized the first step in their process managed to do it all by itself. The reaction turns CO2 into ethanol, which could in turn be used to power generators and vehicles.

The tech involves a new combination of copper and carbon arranged into nanospikes on a silicon surface. The nanotechnology allows the reactions to be very precise, with very few contaminants.

Even more, it seems the process is also quite accessible and it can be used as a temporary storage mechanism:

This process has several advantages when compared to other methods of converting CO2 into fuel. The reaction uses common materials like copper and carbon, and it converts the CO2 into ethanol, which is already widely used as a fuel.

Perhaps most importantly, it works at room temperature, which means that it can be started and stopped easily and with little energy cost. This means that this conversion process could be used as temporary energy storage during a lull in renewable energy generation, smoothing out fluctuations in a renewable energy grid.

source

It's funny...

...how life throws us "accidental" discoveries that tend to have a huge impact at species scale. Last time I remembers this happening, it was penicillin discovered, which lead to the cure of a shitload of diseases.

Here's a video for more info:


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I guess when you put in so much effort every once in a while you earn a little luck.

good post! get rid of some regulations and a few lobbyists, we may get to use some of these fuels.

my thoughts exactly :)

very useful post. I like it :D

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