Skip to comments.Too Green to Be True? Researchers Develop Highly Effective Method for Converting CO2 Into Methanol
Posted on 06/23/2013 3:31:33 PM PDT by lbryce
Université Laval researchers have developed a highly effective method for converting CO2 into methanol, which can be used as a low-emissions fuel for vehicles. The team led by Professor Frédéric-Georges Fontaine presents the details of this discovery in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Researchers have been looking for a way to convert carbon dioxide into methanol in a single step using energy-efficient processes for years. "In the presence of oxygen, methanol combustion produces CO2 and water," explained Professor Fontaine. "Chemists are looking for catalysts that would yield the opposite reaction. That would allow us to slash greenhouse gas emissions by synthesizing a fuel that would reduce our dependence on fossil fuels."
The catalyst developed by Frédéric-Georges Fontaine and his team is made of two chemical groups. The first is borane, a compound of boron, carbon, and hydrogen. The second, phosphine, is made up of phosphorus, carbon, and hydrogen. "Unlike most catalysts developed thus far to convert CO2 into methanol, ours contains no metal, which reduces both the costs and toxic hazard of the catalyst," added the chemistry professor at the Faculty of Science and Engineering.
CO2 to methanol catalysis requires a source of hydrogen and chemical energy. The researchers had the idea of using a compound called hydroborane (BH3), and the results have been spectacular. The reaction achieved is two times more effective than the best catalyst knownand it produces little waste. What makes the discovery even more compelling is the fact that the chemical reaction does not damage the catalyst, which can be reactivated by adding new substrate.
The only downside of the operation is the price tag. "Our approach to creating methanol is highly effective from a chemistry standpoint, but for now the process is expensive," explained Professor Fontaine. "It takes a lot of energy to synthesize hydroborane, which makes it more expensive than methanol. We are working on ways to make the process more profitable by optimizing the reaction and exploring other hydrogen sources."
Explore further: Homogeneous catalysis: ruthenium phosphine complex hydrogenates carbon dioxide to make methanol
Journal reference: Journal of the American Chemical Society search and more info website
Provided by Laval University search and more info website
So, essentially, we have a hydrogen-fueled system. If this were successful, guess where all the hydrogen would come from? Why, yes...natural gas recovered via fracking.
What makes more sense? Generating power via combustion of NG in combined cycle plants? Or going to all the trouble of separating H2 from NG, then synthesizing "hydrobrane" and using it in a system to convert CO2 to methanol and then burning the methanol to make power?
What are we supposed to do with the methanol? If we burn it we just get the CO2 back.
..............The only downside of the operation is the price tag...............
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Green energy means never having to do the math.
To many humans for that.
By the end of 1944 about 60% of the fuel used by the German military was obtained by the Fischer-Tropsche process
I don't know about that; what I do know about the carbon-dioxide thing is that we get better plant-growth and productivity from greenhouses with carbon-dioxide piped in.
Gee. All that’s missing is a Mr. Fusion Carberator and you’d have the perfect system.
I am familiar with borane and phosphine from the semiconductor industry. Nasty stuff.
Who cares if we have food, as long as we have air conditioning.
Not really. When you burn the methanol, you get the CO2 back. The real hangup, like all such new developments, is the cost, as the article honestly says. You have to make the hydrogen donor chemical and it takes a lot of energy to make it. And, where is the hydrogen coming from in the first place? Articles like this drive me nuts.
Heck it’s not even a 2nd Law issue, it’s a 1st Law problem: You have to put energy in to convert CO2 to methanol, since burning methanol releases energy and produces CO2.
If someone comes up with a safe and COST EFFECTIVE way to convert CO2 to methane the result will be a depletion of the CO2 needed to support plant growth resulting in a collapse of crop yields, mass starvation, worldwide war, global cooling resulting in a new ice age, the return of wooly mammoths and saber tooth cats, Alley Oop will be the new world dictator, sea levels will fall ten thousand feet in fifteen minutes, oh,no, please don’t let it be true!
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“The only downside of the operation is the price tag. ... for now the process is expensive,” explained Professor Fontaine. “It takes a lot of energy to synthesize hydroborane, which makes it more expensive than methanol.”
Nice - a gasseous version of solar energy...
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