Could this easy-to-make material help replace gasoline?

Scientists say they are a step closer to making synthetic gasoline from carbon dioxide.

We all know that the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by burning fossil fuels is one of the worst greenhouse gases being emitted into our atmosphere. But did you know that CO2 could also be put to work in the opposite direction as a potential energy source? A team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) are working on just that idea. They say they have developed a new system that could create syngas (an early stage of synthetic natural gas) or even synthetic gasoline out of carbon dioxide. Their research was published this week in the journal Nature Communications.
The work is in its early stages, but so far the team has been able to efficiently and inexpensively convert carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide (CO), which is already one of the primary components of syngas. Co-lead author Amin Salehi-Khojin, a professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, said in a press release that he believes “this can open a new field for the design of inexpensive and efficient catalytic systems for the many researchers already working with these easily manipulated advanced carbon materials.”
Converting CO2 to CO is nothing new, but to date it has been accomplished through a two-step process using the same catalyst during both stages. In a switch, the researchers used two different catalysts during the process, something they called a “co-catalyst system.” Salehi-Khojin had already accomplished this in previous research using an ionic liquid for the first step and silver for the second.

Read the full story here.

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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at www.amooseinamapletree.com. She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

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