We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Pie in the Sky? Researchers Say They Found a CO2 to Fuel Catalyst

13th June 2017

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In a classic tale of science taking twists and turns before coming to a conclusion, two teams of researchers–one a group of theorists and the other, experimentalists–have worked together to solve a chemical puzzle that may one day lead to cleaner air and renewable fuel. The scientists’ ultimate goal is to convert harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere into beneficial liquid fuel. Currently, it is possible to make fuels out of CO2–plants do it all the time–but researchers are still trying to crack the problem of artificially producing the fuels at large enough scales to be useful.

In a new study published the week of June 12 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers report the mechanics behind an early key step in artificially activating CO2 so that it can rearrange itself to become the liquid fuel ethanol. Theorists at Caltech used quantum mechanics to predict what was happening at atomic scales, while experimentalists at the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (Berkeley Lab) used X-ray studies to analyze the steps of the chemical reaction.

We have the technology … maybe.

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