Researchers Scope Method to Directly Convert CO2 Into Car Fuel

The process of global warming typically goes something like this: emit greenhouse gases through the use of some environmentally harmful practice or another and than weep for humanity while scientists scrabble to produce alternatives. But what if the same noxious crud that eats away at our environment could be put to good use? That’s the thinking behind a £1.4 million project being conducted by scientists and engineers at the University of the West of England in collaboration with the University of Bath.

The project, according to researchers, “aims to develop porous materials that can absorb the gas that causes global warming and convert it into chemicals that can be used to make car fuel or plastics in a process powered by renewable solar energy.” The researchers behind the project, which is still in its infancy, hope that those porous materials could be applied in a wide variety of ways, such as used to line factory chimneys and snatch carbon dioxide (CO2) pollutants from the air, effectively reducing climate change effects.

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Image via AVC2009

Why develop this new technology when others that perform a similar function already exist? According to Dr. Frank Marken, the issue lies in the technology required to capture and utilize CO2 being separated. Combining the processes would improve efficiency by minimizing the energy required to propel CO2 reduction. Additionally, the project exploits microorganisms’ natural ability to reduce atmospheric CO2 while simultaneously producing electricity or hydrogen.

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