Science Finds Way to Turn CO2 Into Ethanol

| Cool Stuff Found

Whoa, check this out: scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have discovered a way to turn CO2 into ethanol. This could have huge implications for the fight against anthropogenic global warming, not to mention the entire energy sector. Mind you, this is a new discovery and it’s still in the lab, but if we can capture CO2 and convert it into a fuel, it could be a game changer. The video below talks about how the method was discovered, as well as some of its practical applications. In a world where a steady deluge of depressing news has become the new norm, this is a delightful breath of kick-butt. Popular Mechanics has an article on the subject, too.

Check It Out: Science Finds Way to Turn CO2 Into Ethanol

5 Comments Add a comment

  1. Following my chemistry knowledge:
    1) Start with C02, end with C2H6O. Where does the Hydrogen come from? Presumably this is coming from water (H2O), in which case this is a direct catalytic reversal of combustion.
    2) Combustion extracts thermal energy from the substances involved. So logically this reaction is putting energy into the process. Not a self-running system.

    My presumption is that there would be some external power supply (likely from current renewable sources), being used to take CO2 + H2O and convert it back to ethanol + oxygen. Pair this with a high-efficiency fuel cell, and it could make a closed large-scale energy storage system. Not workable enough to be used in a laptop battery, but fantastic for storing energy from solar panels in the day, for use during the night.

  2. Hagan:
    If they used the sun as the energy source it would be a great way to store solar and make it more usable for vehicles, and other needs. Imagine a box connected to the solar cells on your roof that took sunlight and CO2 from the air and filled your gas tank.

  3. txaggie90

    Ugg. I haven’t read Popular Science or Popular Mechanics for years now, but hopefully their prognostication skills have improved. Seems like everything they said was just around the corner, took another 20 years to see the light of day. If ever.

  4. Dan Kurt

    I predict this BS will never reach any level of production as it is a money sink, robbing taxpayers, a stunt. Plants capture CO2 and produce wood, grain and fiber for man’s use among other useful products out of the air and ground with the help of sunlight. Besides, ETOH is corrosive to current internal combustion engines and we have hundreds of year’s known reserves of petrochemical feed stocks.

    Stick to Mac news.

    Dan Kurt

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