DailyDirt: Fuels From Thin Air

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Carbon dioxide has been the focus of a lot of discussions on global climate change and energy policy. Certainly, there are other greenhouse gases, but CO2 is the major by-product of our fossil-fueled economy that people have been massively pumping into the air at an extraordinary rate. Over millennia, biology has already come up with an answer to this problem -- in nature, carbon dioxide is part of a carbon cycle that is recycled and/or sequestered into wood or sugars or other forms of chemical storage. Perhaps some clever chemists/scientists can come up with another kind of photosynthesis to save us from dangerously high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? Check out some of these research projects that could turn CO2 into fuels. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.
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Filed Under: borane, carbon dioxide, catalysts, chemistry, climate change, energy, fuel, geothermal power, ghg, iceland, ionic liquids, methanol, nanofibers, vulcanol
Companies: carbon recycling international

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  1. icon
    Paraquat (profile), 4 Dec 2013 @ 5:58pm


    Closely related to the production of methanol from carbon dioxide, another useful fuel is DME (dimethyl ether). It works as a simple replacement for propane, a very useful fuel which can be used for cooking, water heating or even a replacement for diesel fuel in motor vehicles. DME has at least one advantage over battery-powered electric cars, because it isn't range-limited. Even more practical is to use DME in trucks and tractors. As usual, Wikipedia has a very informative page:


    Of course, turning CO2 back into a fuel requires energy. It would make no sense to burn a fossil fuel to recycle CO2, you'd need to use something like hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal or nuclear power.

    It certainly makes a whole lot more sense to create something like methanol or DME than it does to make ethanol from corn (which consumes about as much fossil fuel to produce as it "saves"). Whenever I read (usually on a "green" web site) that Country X or Y is getting 15% of its energy from "biomass" and this is touted as a "good thing," I don't whether or laugh or cry. Almost always, they are talking about ethanol, which is good for public relations but not for the environment.

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