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Old 10-28-2016, 01:32 PM   #1
Dromond
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Default Non-Political Post: Ethanol from Atmospheric CO2

New carbon capture technology turns atmospheric CO2 into ethanol. The process uses inexpensive materials (copper and carbon), runs at room temperature, and can be started and stopped easily. Since it's producing ethanol from CO2 already present in the atmosphere, burning that ethanol is carbon neutral. What is not to love here?

Quote:
Scientists Accidentally Discover Efficient Process to Turn CO2 Into Ethanol

The process is cheap, efficient, and scalable, meaning it could soon be used to remove large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere.

By Avery Thompson
Oct 17, 2016

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. [Go here for a new in-depth interview about the findings with one of the lead researchers.]

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.

"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 Adam Rondinone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7EYQLOlwDM

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.

"A process like this would allow you to consume extra electricity when it's available to make and store as ethanol," said Rondinone. "This could help to balance a grid supplied by intermittent renewable sources."

The researchers plan to further study this process and try and make it more efficient. If they're successful, we just might see large-scale carbon capture using this technique in the near future.

Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory via New Atlas
Article source link: http://www.popularmechanics.com/scie...-into-ethanol/
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Old 10-28-2016, 05:36 PM   #2
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Old 10-29-2016, 11:38 AM   #3
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I am completely in support of alternative energy. However, I do sympathize, to a certain extent, to those individuals in the oil industry who are worried about their jobs being lost if alternative energy becomes prevalent (granted, I am NOT much concerned for oil barons).

Thoughts? Are my fears completely uncalled for?
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Old 10-29-2016, 11:40 AM   #4
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Goddamnit, my post is completely irrelevant to the form of alternative energy being discussed. My apologies.
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Old 11-04-2016, 07:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALS Again View Post
I am completely in support of alternative energy. However, I do sympathize, to a certain extent, to those individuals in the oil industry who are worried about their jobs being lost if alternative energy becomes prevalent (granted, I am NOT much concerned for oil barons).

Thoughts? Are my fears completely uncalled for?
Alternative energy will continue being a niche product for decades to come. The petrochemical industry will continue being the "heavy lifter" for the world's energy needs for the foreseeable future if not the rest of our lifetimes. If nothing else, for the fact oil provides the building blocks for most of the worlds medicines, synthetic cloth, consumer packaging, and enclosures for all our electronic toys.
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