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Exciting New Method for Turning CO2 Directly into Methanol Fuel

By Joao Peixe | Tue, 25 June 2013 21:33 | 2

For years researchers have been looking for a method to convert carbon dioxide directly into methanol, in order to create a new source of fuel, and reduce the dependency on fossil fuels.

A team from the Université Laval, in Canada, have discovered an efficient method. Professor Frédéric-Georges Fontaine, part of the team that made the discovery, explained that “in the presence of oxygen, methanol combustion produces CO2 and water. Chemists are looking for catalysts that would yield the opposite reaction. That would allow us to slash greenhouse gas emissions by synthesizing a fuel that would reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.”

Part of the process to turn the CO2 into methanol fuel requires a source of hydrogen. The teams choice to use a compound called hydroborane has resulted in a reaction that is two times as effective as the current best known catalyst, whilst at the same time producing little waste, and causing no damage to the catalyst, allowing it to be reused.

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Their technique has proven to be the most efficient, and effective method of producing methanol fuel from CO2, yet it is not ready to take the world by storm just yet. Hydroborane is expensive to produce, meaning that the whole system is unprofitable; until the process is refined and made cheaper the world will have to keep on waiting for a methanol fuel source.

Professor Fontaine said that their “approach to creating methanol is highly effective from a chemistry standpoint, but for now the process is expensive. It takes a lot of energy to synthesize hydroborane, which makes it more expensive than methanol. We are working on ways to make the process more profitable by optimizing the reaction and exploring other hydrogen sources.”

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com

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  • George Clooney on October 13 2013 said:
    The corn industry and all of its lobbyists need to be taken care of before this will happen. Midwest congressmen need to be gotten rid of also. The oil industry has been trying to get rid of them for years as the oil industry is forced to buy ethanol to blend into their gasolines.
  • Naz Ekim on June 28 2013 said:
    This is good news! Now, if only methanol was legal use in our cars, I think that would be ideal. Recently listening to a talk where an expert talked about how widely methanol is being used in China and it seems like we're behind countries like China and Brazil when it comes to transportation fuels. Brazil has had the flexibility of putting whatever fuel they want in their cars for the past 10 years and now China is surpassing us in methanol. I wonder when America will realize how behind it is from the rest of the world when it comes to alternative fuels.

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