Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Green fuel from carbon dioxide

Date:
June 13, 2012
Source:
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Summary:
Scientists agree that carbon dioxide has an effect on global warming as a greenhouse gas, but we still pump tons and tons of it into the atmosphere every day. Scientists have now developed a new system for producing methanol that uses CO2 and hydrogen. Methanol can, for example, be used as an environmentally friendly alternative for gasoline. The goal of the scientists is to harness the power of CO2 on a large scale and integrate it into the utilization cycle as a sustainable form of energy production.

Doctoral candidate Elias Frei controls the temperature in the reactor of the catalyst test device.
Credit: FMF

Scientists agree that carbon dioxide (CO2) has an effect on global warming as a greenhouse gas, but we still pump tons and tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every day. A research team at the Freiburg Materials Research Center (FMF) led by the chemist Prof. Dr. Ingo Krossing has now developed a new system for producing methanol that uses CO2 and hydrogen. Methanol can, for example, be used as an environmentally friendly alternative for gasoline. The goal of the scientists is to harness the power of CO2 on a large scale and integrate it into the utilization cycle as a sustainable form of energy production.

In order to produce methanol, Krossing's doctoral candidates combine the carbon dioxide with hydrogen in a high pressure environment, a process known as hydrogenolysis. Doctoral candidate Elias Frei has already been conducting research on methanol for several years. "Our goal is to develop new catalyst systems and methods for accelerating the chemical reaction even more," explains Frei. The researchers at FMF use the metal oxides copper, zinc, and zirconium dioxide as catalysts, enabling the reaction to happen at lower temperatures. In this way, the gases don't have to be heated as much. Together the catalysts form a so-called mixed system of surface-rich porous solid matter with defined properties. If the catalysts consist of nanoparticles, their activity is increased even more.

Frei and his colleague Dr. Marina Artamonova are also testing techniques in which the catalysts are impregnated with ionic liquids, salts in a liquid state that cover the catalyst like a thin film. They help to fix CO2 and hydrogen to the catalyst and remove the products methanol and water from it. This conversion leads to the production of pure methanol, which is used as a component in the chemical industry and as a fuel. When used as an alternative to gasoline it is less dangerous and less harmful to the environment than conventional fuels. In around two years, the researchers aim to be able to produce methanol on a mass scale according to this technique. Then the CO2 will be filtered out of the waste gas stream of a combined heat and power plant and used to produce methanol. When methanol is burned in a motor, CO2 is released again. If the same molecule were used twice, it would theoretically be possible to use 50 percent less CO2 to create the same amount of energy. The amount of methanol that could be converted from 10 percent of the yearly CO2 emissions in Germany would cover the country's yearly fuel needs.

Methanol is also used as a chemical means of hydrogen storage and could thus also be used to power the fuel cells of automobiles in the future. "There is enough energy out there, but it needs to be stored," says Frei. "As a sustainable means of energy storage, methanol has potential in a wide range of areas. We want to use that potential, because the storage and conversion of energy are important topics for the future."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. "Green fuel from carbon dioxide." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120613132937.htm>.
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. (2012, June 13). Green fuel from carbon dioxide. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120613132937.htm
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. "Green fuel from carbon dioxide." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120613132937.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) — Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) — TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) — Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) — When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins