Scientists create carbon-neutral "solar fuel"

Discussion in 'Chemistry' started by Kittamaru, May 3, 2014.

  1. Kittamaru Now nearly 40 pounds lighter. Staff Member

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    http://sploid.gizmodo.com/solar-jet...source=gizmodo_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

    This is pretty cool! If they can simplify the process or perhaps speed it or mass produce it... this would make a good alternative for current fossil fuels
     
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  3. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I suppose it is in effect an alternative to the hydrogen economy envisaged by some, which would use solar (or nuclear) electricity to split water. The article you reference does not provide details of the process, but from the diagram it seems NOT to involve electricity as an intermediate step, which is certainly interesting. If so, it would be a sort of mechanical photosynthesis.

    I suppose it must be open to question, though, whether it outperforms natural photosynthesis as a source of biofuel
     
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  5. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Hasn't this tech (or something very similar) already been around for a while in the proto-type stage... if not by these guys then others?
    I recall seeing a BBC documentary about some guy in the desert using solar power to heat up some material in a machine he'd designed and built that he reckoned could produce 1 litre of fuel a day... let me see if I can recall details...

    Ah ha!
    https://share.sandia.gov/news/resources/releases/2007/sunshine.html

    Maybe this latest news is hope that this type of thinking is progressing somewhat faster, and seemingly on multiple fronts.
    Which should only be good news in the long-run.
     
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  7. Kittamaru Now nearly 40 pounds lighter. Staff Member

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    indeed - removing the reliance on electricity removes a HUGE part of the "refining" carbon footprint

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  8. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    The process uses high temperature to drive an endothermic reaction, using common combustion products H20 and CO2, as the reactants, back into fuel. Oxygen atoms are removed from the H2O and the CO2, to create O2, with the H2 the product from the H2O, and CO the product from the CO2. One could use the hydrogen by itself, but the CO also has energy value, so the logical path is to react both of these to form hydrocarbon fuel.

    Such a solar power plant would then burn these products to reform CO2 and H2O,. These are then recycled in the solar collector. If a surplus of fuel is generated ,one can use these solar products to make carbon fuels as a side stream.
     

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