CO2-Fuel Converter Powered by Sunlight Shows Potential
Pennsylvania State University sought to tackle both CO2 emissions problems and the never-ending craving for fuel. In fact, the solution they propose combines three environmental issues: CO2 reduction, fuel necessities and solar power.
The researchers at the aforementioned University found that an array of nanotubes can convert a mixture of carbon dioxide and water vapor into natural gas. Not only does it do that, but the device can be powered by natural sunlight.
The team found they can enhance the catalytic abilities of titanium dioxide by shaping them into 135 nanometers wide-40 microns long nanotubes. They then covered the array with catalytic copper and platinum particles and with the help of the energy provided by sunlight, carbon dioxide and water vapor were transformed into methane, ethane and propane, at rates of 160 microliters/hour per gram of nanotubes, newscientist.com reported.
You might ask what does this have to do with the automotive industry. The answer is as simple as it could turn out to be an end to fuel shortages: if the reaction stopped early, the device produces a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen known as syngas, which can then be converted into diesel.
The good news end here. It might take a very long time before the system becomes viable. "If you tried to build a commercial system using what we have accomplished to date, you'd go broke," Craig Grimes was quoted as saying by the aforementioned source.