Seeing the positive side of carbon dioxide

March 1, 2013
Seeing the positive side of Carbon Dioxide
Research at Bath has developed a more efficient way of converting CO2 into useful chemical products.

(Phys.org)—New research from Bath has explored the idea of treating carbon dioxide as a useful product rather than waste, by capturing it and converting it into useful chemicals and reducing the quantity of this greenhouse gas in our atmosphere.

Carbon capture and storage is promoted as one of the most promising solutions to , but the Bath research team now want to take that locked-away and realise its potential as a large-scale and free alternative to fossil fuels.

In recent years, as have risen and governments have become environmentally concerned, the well-documented 1920s Fischer-Tropsch process for the conversion of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide has been explored by researchers around the world.

However to date the processes used to create the catalysts needed to convert carbon dioxide have been energy intensive and therefore costly, and not suitable for use on a large scale.

Dr Davide Mattia, project lead from the University's Department of Chemical Engineering, said: "To date, methods have typically required the use of one catalyst to create the carbon support for the conversion process. Then the first catalyst has to be flushed out, and replaced with the second catalyst for the Fischer-Tropsch process. This is time and energy intensive, so makes the whole method expensive."

Dr Matthew Jones, co-author of the paper from the Department of Chemistry, added: "Our method is considerably more simple. We use the same catalyst at both stages, which means energy and time isn't required to purify the carbon support and the process can take place far more quickly.

"This makes our process scaleable to a level where it could be used in industry and have a significant impact on the environment."

The new method developed by the research team at Bath has been shown to work with both carbon dioxide and , and tests have found it to result in a more effective than previous alternatives.

Looking to the future, the team hopes to explore the use of waste heat from power plants to run the process. Dr Mattia said: "By using waste heat we can further reduce the energy required by our method, and in the future it could even become carbon neutral."

The full research paper can be accessed via the RSC website.

Explore further: Technological breakthrough in the fight to cut greenhouse gases

Related Stories

Technological breakthrough in the fight to cut greenhouse gases

April 24, 2008

Scientists at Newcastle University have pioneered breakthrough technology in the fight to cut greenhouse gases. The Newcastle University team, led by Michael North, Professor of Organic Chemistry, has developed a highly energy-efficient ...

Recommended for you

Yarn from slaughterhouse waste

July 29, 2015

ETH researchers have developed a yarn from ordinary gelatine that has good qualities similar to those of merino wool fibers. Now they are working on making the yarn even more water resistant.

Findings illuminate animal evolution in protein function

July 27, 2015

Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Richmond researchers recently teamed up to explore the inner workings of cells and shed light on the 400–600 million years of evolution between humans and early animals ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.