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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: 3, Informative) by c0lo on Tuesday September 12 2017, @01:16PM (1 child)

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 12 2017, @01:16PM (#566710) Journal

    Increasing the amounts of any constituent gas implicitly requires decreasing the amount of one or more other gases.

    Only if the total amount remains unchanged.
    There no indication that the weight of the entire Earth atmosphere was...mmmm.... conserved.

    You can kill with argon, you know, but it's the lack of oxygen that actually does the deed.

    Wrong, if your are given 95% oxygen and 5% carbon dioxide, you are likely to pass out - increased blood pressure and hyperventilation are the immediate effects. At 10% CO2, you'll be unconscious in minutes and dead in under one hour [], even if the rest of 90% is oxygen.

    The respiratory reflexes [] aren't governed by the low concentration of oxygen but by the increased concentration of CO2 [] in the blood - this is why asphyxiation with inert gases is mostly used in euthanasia []

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 12 2017, @07:28PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 12 2017, @07:28PM (#566928)

    Actually, at those levels, the oxygen itself would likely kill you: []