Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Converting CO2 into Methane

Many people propose carbon capture technology to capture carbon emissions, burying gases deep into the ground to prevent the escape into the atmosphere. A smaller group of geniuses offer an alternative: converting CO2 back into burnable fuel. Take a look at Penn State's idea of converting CO2 into methane:

Engineers at Pennsylvania State University have come up with a clever alternative: Turn it back into fuel. They combine the carbon dioxide with water vapor to make methane, the primary component of natural gas, which can be burned in a generator.

The concept is not new, but the chemical reaction, which also yields oxygen, requires a lot of energy. Some previous attempts have tried using ultraviolet light, with limited success.

The Penn State team says it improved the reaction speed by a factor of least 20, just using regular sunlight. The key is that the gas conversion takes place in the presence of a high-tech catalyst: an array of titanium dioxide nanotubes coated with copper
and platinum.

A similar process was achieved by New Mexico scientists last year. These boys were able to convert CO2 into methane and gasoline. Mind you, the technology is still in its infancy; at the moment, its very energy intensive, and additional research along with breakthroughs in energy (likely solar) will need to be obtained before this process comes up to speed. Still, this is very promising technology, and it may have its place years ahead. Have patience.

- Brewskie


  1. Incredible. You know, someday this financial crisis will blow over, and there will be venture capital money again for promising technologies. The web spreads information like wildfire.
    I think people like Bloggin Brewskie are very important--they can help remind people what really improves our standard of living, and it isn't doomsterism.
    Hopefully the public will begin to respect engineers, scientists etc more, and the role of the good universities and a free market system in bringing technologies to the public. B Cole

  2. B Cole,

    While your compliments are always appreciated, remember, many, many people are involved with the constant improvements in technology, and overall, our living standards. The very idea that technology will fail us, overpopulation will kill us (intellectuals freaked when the globe bounced to 1 billion people), or fossil fuels will run out (nobody's going to need fossil fuels decades down the road anyways) is nothing new; all of these have been comically disproven for many decades.

    As for yourself, you've been a good fan. I aim to keep you and anybody else informed. Scope around and educate yourself; the internet is your personal "Carnegie supermill" to forge whatever your intellect craves.