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posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday September 12 2017, @04:53AM   Printer-friendly
from the were-they-in-Denver? dept.

It may sound too good to be true, but TU Delft PhD student Ming Ma has found a way to produce alcohol out of thin air. Or to be more precise, he has found how to effectively and precisely control the process of electroreduction of CO2 to produce a wide range of useful products, including alcohol. Being able to use CO2 as such a resource may be pivotal in tackling climate change. His PhD defence will take place on September 14th.

[...] For mitigating atmospheric CO2 concentration, carbon capture and utilization (CCU) could be a feasible alternative strategy to carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). The electrochemical reduction of CO2 to fuels and value-added chemicals has attracted considerable attention as a promising solution. In this process, the captured CO2 is used as a resource and converted into carbon monoxide (CO), methane (CH4), ethylene (C2H4), and even liquid products such as formic acid (HCOOH), methanol (CH3OH) and ethanol (C2H5OH).

The high energy density hydrocarbons can be directly and conveniently utilized as fuels within the current energy infrastructure. In addition, the production of CO is very interesting since it can be used as feedstock in the Fischer–Tropsch process, a well-developed technology that has been widely used in industry to convert syngas (CO and hydrogen (H2)) into valuable chemicals such as methanol and synthetic fuels (such as diesel fuel). The figure attached describes these three processes and the way electroreduction of CO2 could potentially close the carbon cycle.

Beer, from air. Others use barley as an intermediary.

Publication: Aula TU Delft, PhD defence Ming Ma, Selective Electrocatalytic CO2 Conversion on Metal Surfaces.


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  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 12 2017, @06:21AM (9 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 12 2017, @06:21AM (#566564)

    Jesus needed at least water.

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  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday September 12 2017, @07:07AM (7 children)

    by c0lo (156) on Tuesday September 12 2017, @07:07AM (#566572) Journal

    One of the highest producer of CO2 is fermentation. Some estimates indicate around 60 g of CO2 per liter of beer. [triplepundit.com].
    Ok, it's a back of the napkin calculation, let's cut it in half: say 30g CO2/liter of beer.
    US had 24172 Ml of beer in 2014 [wikipedia.org] - which means CO2 emissions by fermentation in the 750 Mton of CO2.
    Comparison time: in 2014, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions totaled 6,870 Mtons of carbon dioxide equivalents. [epa.gov]. Oh, wow. That's like 10% only from the beer consumption on conservative estimates!

    (Ok, Ok. I'll stop here before the govts will start putting a cap on beer production/consumption).

    But, there's a thing: place the "synthetic fuel" Dutch factory close to a Heineken plant and maybe Noordoostpolder [wikipedia.org] and you can export the diesel to France... err... China... oh, stop it, will you?

    (grin)

    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Tuesday September 12 2017, @07:34AM (4 children)

      by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 12 2017, @07:34AM (#566587) Journal

      Of course the CO2 released during fermentation was previously captured by the very plants that get fermented. Therefore the process is carbon neutral (except for the carbon used in the industrial farming process, that is).

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday September 12 2017, @08:42AM (3 children)

        by c0lo (156) on Tuesday September 12 2017, @08:42AM (#566626) Journal

        Of course the CO2 released during fermentation was previously captured by the very plants that get fermented. Therefore the process is carbon neutral (except for the carbon used in the industrial farming process, that is).

        Of course, CO2 is CO2 irrespective of its source. As CO2 had the habit of doing, it captures more heat than the other major components of the atmosphere.

        On the same line, the CO2 farted from cows still comes the carbon captured by the grass - it doesn't stop those vegans to promote their mantra as "greener than thou".

        So... in any case, just stay away from my stake and beer, or else... No, really, I mean it!

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by MostCynical on Tuesday September 12 2017, @11:46AM (1 child)

          by MostCynical (2589) on Tuesday September 12 2017, @11:46AM (#566688) Journal

          So, is a cow only carbon-neutral if you bury it once it dies? I mean I like my aged steak, but I'm not too keen on having to *dig* for it..

          Besides, the problem with steak is the water use, rather than the by-products.. http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/food-water-footprint_n_5952862 [huffingtonpost.com.au]

          --
          "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
          • (Score: 3, Funny) by c0lo on Tuesday September 12 2017, @12:30PM

            by c0lo (156) on Tuesday September 12 2017, @12:30PM (#566702) Journal

            So, is a cow only carbon-neutral if you bury it once it dies? I mean I like my aged steak, but I'm not too keen on having to *dig* for it..

            This is what I understood one of the argument of the vegans is.
            They can bury their steak if so they like it, but better stay away from mine (rump-steak 42-day-properly-aged and then twitching-blue grilled over charcoal is my favourite - a good balance, to my taste, between flavour and texture).

            Besides, the problem with steak is the water use, rather than the by-products..

            Oh, so this is why the Murray-Darling basin dries out!
            Those paid-by-tax-water thieves in outback NSW sucking dry the Barwon-Darling system have nothing to do with it. Perhaps this is why, unlike the Northern Territory under-age detention case, we haven't heard about any outcome; silly me, out-of-sight-out-of-mind has nothing to do with it.
            Tell you what: I'll insist my steak be raised in Tasmania then, lately they have excess of water.

            (grin)

            --
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 2) by lx on Tuesday September 12 2017, @01:10PM

          by lx (1915) on Tuesday September 12 2017, @01:10PM (#566707)

          Cows fart methane which is about 200x as potent as CO2.

          So yeah, cows bad.

    • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Tuesday September 12 2017, @03:15PM (1 child)

      by LoRdTAW (3755) on Tuesday September 12 2017, @03:15PM (#566763) Journal

      Beer causes global warming? 😞

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday September 12 2017, @03:26PM

        by c0lo (156) on Tuesday September 12 2017, @03:26PM (#566767) Journal

        Beer causes global warming? 😞

        While the above might be true, a thing is certain: beer produce some... mmmm... localized cooling. Mouth, throat and stomach areas mainly.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by maxwell demon on Tuesday September 12 2017, @07:31AM

    by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 12 2017, @07:31AM (#566585) Journal

    I bet they do need water, too. At least I don't see how they could get the hydrogen from CO2. The only listed product without hydrogen is carbon monoxide.

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.