“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could do something useful with excess carbon dioxide other than capture it, compress it, and bury it deep in the bottom of the ocean? Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory may have discovered a way to do precisely that.
According to a press release from ANL, researchers at the lab, working with partners at Northern Illinois University, have discovered a new electrocatalyst that converts carbon dioxide and water into ethanol with very high energy efficiency, high selectivity for the desired final product, and low cost. Ethanol is a particularly desirable commodity because it is an ingredient in nearly all US gasoline and is widely used as an intermediate product in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics industries.
‘The process resulting from our catalyst would contribute to the circular carbon economy, which entails the reuse of carbon dioxide,’ says Di-Jia Liu, senior chemist in Argonne’s chemical sciences and engineering division and also a scientist at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. ‘The process resulting from our catalyst would contribute to the circular carbon economy, which entails the reuse of carbon dioxide,’ he says. The new electrochemical process converts carbon dioxide emitted from industrial processes, such as fossil fuel power plants or alcohol fermentation plants, into valuable commodities at reasonable cost.”
“The upshot of this new research is the creation of a process that could reuse and recycle carbon dioxide for fuels and chemicals that today are derived from either oil or natural gas. Notice the role that low cost renewable energy plays in this scenario. What we are witnessing is a convergence of technologies that may result in ways to substantially lower the amount of carbon dioxide that gets added to the atmosphere by industry and at far lower cost than previously thought possible.
Ethanol and the other chemicals that could result from this and similar processes are essential building blocks for the plastics industry. If this discovery could be combined with the creation of new recyclable and biodegradable plastics, that would be a major step forward in constructing a circular economy, one that does not destroy the environment in the pursuit of profits.”
View the whole story here: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/08/08/argonne-national-lab-breakthrough-turns-carbon-dioxide-into-ethanol/