Sunday, January 06, 2008

Carbon Dioxide Recycling

This plan to recycle carbon dioxide into usabale products strikes me as a better version of artificial carbon sequestration than the plans to bury carbon dioxide underground and hope we can keep it there forever.

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico have found a way of using sunlight to recycle carbon dioxide and produce fuels like methanol or gasoline.

The Sunlight to Petrol, or S2P, project essentially reverses the combustion process, recovering the building blocks of hydrocarbons. They can then be used to synthesize liquid fuels like methanol or gasoline. Researchers said the technology already works and could help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, although large-scale implementation could be a decade or more away.

"This is about closing the cycle," said Ellen Stechel, manager of Sandia's Fuels and Energy Transitions department. "Right now our fossil fuels are emitting CO2. This would help us manage and reduce our emissions and put us on the path to a carbon-neutral energy system."

The idea of recycling carbon dioxide is not new, but has generally been considered too difficult and expensive to be worth the effort. But with oil prices exceeding $100 per barrel and concerns about global warming mounting, researchers are increasingly motivated to investigate carbon recycling. Los Alamos Renewable Energy, for example, has developed a method of using CO2 to generate electricity and fuel. |Scientists Use Sunlight to Make Fuel From CO2 - Wired|

1 comment:

George Fryer said...

We will be applying for a renewable energy grant in South Carolina to 'recover carbon dioxide and use it.' In our case we will pump it into a sweetpotato field to demonstrate accelerated growth. Sweetpotatoes can then be used as a renewable fuel - burn it or make ethanol.

George Fryer