Researchers from Rice University have managed to take a greenhouse gas and turn it into liquid fuel in an environmentally friendly manner.
The scientists managed to repurpose the greenhouse gas turning it into fuel.
The scientists from Rice University, led by chemical and biomolecular engineer Haotian Wang, came up with a catalytic reactor that makes use of carbon dioxides as its feedstock producing purified concentrations of formic acid.
The new method explained in a study published in the journal Nature Energy, has demonstrated an energy conversion efficiency of approximately 42%. That means that almost half of the electrical energy can be stored in formic acid as a liquid fuel.
Carbon dioxide is one of the main greenhouse gases, and since last May the gas exceeded the record of concentration in the atmosphere registered to date and continues to grow exponentially.
In spite of everything, the researchers point out how this technique is not based on an increase in CO2 production, but rather with it, it is intended to reduce the concentration of this gas.
“The big picture is that carbon dioxide reduction is very important because of its effect on global warming and the synthesis of green chemistry,” says Wang.
“If electricity comes from renewable sources such as the sun or wind, we can create a circuit that converts carbon dioxide into something important without emitting more.
“Formic acid is an energy carrier. It’s a fuel-cell fuel that can generate electricity and emit carbon dioxide — which you can grab and recycle again,” said Wang in a press release announcing the research.
“It’s also fundamental in the chemical engineering industry as a feedstock for other chemicals, and a storage material for hydrogen that can hold nearly 1,000 times the energy of the same volume of hydrogen gas, which is difficult to compress. That’s currently a big challenge for hydrogen fuel-cell cars.”
Making it possible
It is essential in the chemical engineering industry as a raw material for other chemical products and a hydrogen storage material that can contain almost 1,000 times the energy of the same volume of hydrogen gas, which “is difficult to compress,” according to Wang.
That is currently a great challenge for cars with hydrogen fuel cells, the scientist warned.
Two advances made the new device possible, according to Rice’s lead author and postdoctoral researcher, Chuan Xia.
The first was the development of a robust two-dimensional bismuth catalyst; the second, a solid-state electrolyte that eliminates the need for salt as part of the reaction.