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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: 4, Insightful) by tfried on Tuesday September 12 2017, @08:41AM (8 children)

    by tfried (5534) on Tuesday September 12 2017, @08:41AM (#566625)

    So to play along with your dictionary game:

    a)

    "contact or admixture" - dictionary.com
    "contact or association"
    "admixture"

    How do these three out of your five defining terms of "contamination" contradict everybody else's notion that a pollutant is not necessarily something all new to the mix?

    b) For the two "introduce", let's look up what that actually means. E.g. merriam webster: "3. :a putting in :insertion", dictionary.com: " 5. an act or instance of inserting." wiktionary: "3. To add (something) to a system, a mixture, or a container."

    Where do these definitions refer to something all new?

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  • (Score: 1, Disagree) by Arik on Tuesday September 12 2017, @08:54AM (7 children)

    by Arik (4543) on Tuesday September 12 2017, @08:54AM (#566632) Journal
    Again, none of these words make sense if both the subject and the object are the same.

    Let's see if we can agree on a little common sense here. Once we narrow those words down as much as you've done, there's nothing to prevent the subject and object from being the same, in some sense. If we ignore everything else and look just at that, we could talk about introducing oxygen to oxygen, contact between oxygen and oxygen, admixture, even, between otherwise identical oxygen from two different sources.

    But I suspect you do speak English and you realize that this is nonsense. You can't contaminate, or pollute, oxygen by adding oxygen. You could do it by adding *already polluted oxygen* to pure oxygen, but adding pure oxygen to pure oxygen cannot possibly be pollution, do we agree on that?
    --
    If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
    • (Score: 2) by tfried on Tuesday September 12 2017, @09:29AM (3 children)

      by tfried (5534) on Tuesday September 12 2017, @09:29AM (#566644)

      if both the subject and the object are the same

      So you are really trying to argue that "air" and "CO2" are the same? You might want to review set theory, then, or enlighten us on the new meaning of "same".

      • (Score: 1) by Arik on Tuesday September 12 2017, @09:47AM (2 children)

        by Arik (4543) on Tuesday September 12 2017, @09:47AM (#566652) Journal
        Air is a compound gas composed of nitrogen, oxygen, argon, CO2, and a few other gases in minute quantities. The exact ratio is variable and has varied considerably over time.

        Introducing more of one of the constituent gases in a compound gas is not 'pollution.' It's changing the ratio.

        Pollution does not mean fnord.

        It denotes introduction of a foreign element, and connotes that the result is harmful.

        --
        If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
        • (Score: 2) by tfried on Tuesday September 12 2017, @10:06AM

          by tfried (5534) on Tuesday September 12 2017, @10:06AM (#566659)

          It denotes introduction of a foreign element

          I have completely understood that this is the definition you want to apply, but you have failed to make that point without resorting to unsound reasoning such as saying that "air" and "CO2" are the same.

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday September 12 2017, @01:37PM

          by c0lo (156) on Tuesday September 12 2017, @01:37PM (#566718) Journal

          Introducing more of one of the constituent gases in a compound gas is not 'pollution.'

          Really? Even when the introduced constituents become poisonous?
          Because CO2 at 10% will cause mass extinction to all human (and majority of mammalian) life.
          Unlike O2 and N2 and argon, CO2 modifies the pH of the body's internal medium [wikipedia.org], and the human metabolism is quite sensitive to that.

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Tuesday September 12 2017, @10:18AM (2 children)

      by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Tuesday September 12 2017, @10:18AM (#566663) Homepage
      If Y is polluted with X, would adding more pure Y *reduce* the X pollution?
      --
      Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
      • (Score: 1) by Arik on Tuesday September 12 2017, @11:16AM (1 child)

        by Arik (4543) on Tuesday September 12 2017, @11:16AM (#566680) Journal
        "If Y is polluted with X, would adding more pure Y *reduce* the X pollution?"

        If you have a container of Y polluted with some portion of foreign matter X, to which you add more pure Y, you would now have a larger quantity of polluted Y, with a lower concentration of pollutant X. However, it would still be polluted, and you would have lost a portion of pure, unpolluted Y, in the process. So, depending on exactly what Y and X are and what you're trying to do, that could be a serious problem. Or not.

        --
        If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
        • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Tuesday September 12 2017, @11:43AM

          by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Tuesday September 12 2017, @11:43AM (#566687) Homepage
          So pollution is a binary attribute in terms of presence or absence??!

          It is clear that it is you who disagrees with the rest of the world in your definitions.
          --
          Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves