Recycle CO2 to Gasoline, Diesel Fuel

The Rate of usage of the fossil fuels is sky high. New powerful vehicles, industries have replaced the older ones but the efficiency, overall, has reduced, demand has risen exponentially. Day by day Global warming is becoming an issue which no one has permanent  solutions to. CO2 is the primary reason for creating the greenhouse effect, one major building block for survival, but excess of everything is bad.

To tackle the increasing demand of fossil fuels, and put CO2 to safer levels, Researchers at SNL, Sandia National Laboratories have built a machine that uses the Solar Energy to convert carbon dioxide waste from power plants into transportation fuels such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. The “Sunshine to Petrol” system could ultimately prove a practical way to recycle CO₂ from power and industrial plants,  assuming the process can become at least twice as efficient as natural photosynthesis.

The machine is called the Counter-Rotating-Ring Receiver Reactor Recuperator (CR5).  This cylindrical machine is as complex as the name.

How it Works: It consists of two chambers on the sides and 14 rotating rings in the center.  When the inside of one chamber is heated to 1,500C with a solar power concentrator, the uter edges of the rings made with iron oxide undergoes a thermo-chemical reaction where it gives up oxygen molecules. As the rings rotate,  the hot side approaches the opposite chamber and begins to cool down. When carbon dioxide is pumped into this chamber, the iron oxide retrieves oxygen molecules from the carbon dioxide, transforming it into carbon monoxide. The carbon monoxide could then serve as a building block to create a liquid combustible fuel.
As like other things in Research, the original purpose of the experiment was something else. Originally it was designed to generate hydrogen without using electrolysis.

When? Alright, I already excited you too much. Unfortunately, we will have to wait atleast a decade or two before we see commercial versions of this prototype. The biggest challenge right now is to increase the system’s efficiency. The goal is to achieve an efficiency of a few percent, which is about 2x as efficient as photosynthesis’ real-world efficiency of 1%.

“Ultimately, we believe we have to get in the range of 10% sunlight-to-fuels, and we’re a long way from doing that,” said James Miller, a chemical engineer with Sandia’s lab.

[via: Technology Review]

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