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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) by FatPhil on Tuesday September 12 2017, @09:25AM (3 children)

    by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Tuesday September 12 2017, @09:25AM (#566643) Homepage
    > What YOU appear to have done is to smuggle in the postulate "anything that is bad is pollution."

    I have done nothing of the sort.
    --
    Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
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  • (Score: 1) by Arik on Tuesday September 12 2017, @10:04AM (2 children)

    by Arik (4543) on Tuesday September 12 2017, @10:04AM (#566656) Journal
    "I have done nothing of the sort."

    Well all right let's take a look at this then.

    Here's your caricature of my position;

    ""X is part of Y, and Y is good, therefore Y with more X is good""

    I never used the word 'good' and what I actually said, boiled down to match your statement structurally, would actually be;

    X is a natural component of Y, therefore adding X to Y is not pollution.

    If we equate my 'pollution' with 'bad' which is the inverse of your 'good' then these things line up but if not, then I must leave it to you to explain yourself, for I certainly see no sense in it. I took no position on whether adding more X to Y was good, or bad, I only said it was not 'pollution.'
    --
    If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Tuesday September 12 2017, @10:13AM (1 child)

      by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Tuesday September 12 2017, @10:13AM (#566660) Homepage
      > I only said it was not 'pollution.

      And that is where we are in the clearest disagreement. I believe pollution is non-binary, and depends upon concentration (and other contextual properties). Explicitly - concentration x1 of X in Y can be considered not pollution, and concentration x2 of X in Y can be considered 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, @10:33AM

        by Arik (4543) on Tuesday September 12 2017, @10:33AM (#566666) Journal
        Alright, let me know when you decide on the name for your new language, and good luck with that!
        --
        If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?