Recycle carbon dioxide to ethanl? A new promising option for captured carbon dioxide is recycling it back into usable fuels. Basically, pushing the combustion reaction backwards, the new method converts carbon dioxide back into ethanol, a liquid fuel that is currently used as an additive in gasoline. The process involved development of a catalyst made from carbon, copper, and nitrogen with a textured surface, which concentrated the electrochemical reactions at the tips of nano spikes. When electrical voltage was applied, the device converted the solution of carbon dioxide into ethanol at a high level of efficiency. The materials used were relatively cheap and the process worked at room temperature, both critical advantages for future commercialization.
Carbon dioxide is a waste product of combustion, and in pushing that combustion reaction backwards, the CO2 can be used to create ethanol and even to store excess energy from wind and solar electricity generation. Researchers remain optimistically skeptical, waiting to see how the research progresses, but the initial results certain raise some good possibilities.
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