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 April 23, 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 April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) — The urban 4x4 is the latest must-have for Chinese drivers, whose conversion to the cult of the SUV is the talking point of this year's Beijing auto show. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — The light-field photography engineers at Lytro unveiled their next innovation: a professional DSLR-like camera called "Illum." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3 Reasons Why Harley Davidson Is Selling Tons of Epic Hogs

3 Reasons Why Harley Davidson Is Selling Tons of Epic Hogs

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) — Sales of motorcycles have continued to ride back from the depths of hell known as the Great Recession. Excluding scooters, sales of motorcycles increased 3% in 2013. In units, however, at 465,000 sold last year, the total remained about 50% below the peak hit in 2007. Industry leader Harley Davidson’s shareholders have benefited both by the industry recovery and positive headlines emanating from the company. Belus Capital Advisors CEO Brian Sozzi takes you beyond the headlines of the motorcycle maker. 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