There is not a day that goes by in this modern world where you don’t hear someone mention harmful carbon dioxide emissions. They are said to be the single most major contributor to both global warming and poor air quality. Simply put, not much good ever comes from processes like engine combustion and fossil fuel power generation, which emit an enormous amount of carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere. What if we told you that scientists and researchers were working on ways to not only eliminate excess carbon dioxide from the air we breathe, but to also turn it into useful products like fuel and plastics? 

That’s exactly what’s happening with two different research teams in Canada. 

Making Gasoline and Other Fuels from Carbon Dioxide 

Wouldn’t it be great if burning fossil fuels to power vehicles and produce electricity had some renewable aspects to it instead of being just a major source of air pollution? That’s exactly what a Canadian CO2-capture and clean fuels research company is trying to accomplish. Carbon Engineering, which was founded and is led by Harvard professor of applied physics, David Keith, is the company making progress with this very hopeful research. 

The idea of making gasoline and other fuels from a carbon sequestration process is nothing new. As a matter of fact it was first explored many decades ago. What is new is the fact that the research being done by Carbon Engineering is showing promise to be able to do this carbon sequestration process in a scalable and cost-effective way. That has never been done before. 

The research not only shows great promise because of the fact that it works on a cost-effective level, but that fuels produced from the process are much less harmful to the environment than fuels produced straight up from oil. That’s because fuels produced from carbon dioxide through Carbon Engineering’s carbon sequestration procedure produce carbon-neutral hydrocarbons. This will further reduce the greenhouse gases emitted by vehicles that use fuels made from a CO2-capture process. 

This research has already gone well past the theory phase and Carbon Engineering is already making gasoline and other clean fuels from their own unique carbon sequestration process. 

Plastics Being Made from COEmissions 

There is also some progress being made in finding a technology that will help to reduce harmful amounts of COin the atmosphere and also make plastics out of the process too. This is an effort that has been undertaken by a research team from the University of Toronto’s Applied Science & Engineering Department. It also offers the additional benefit of lessening our dependence on the raw materials needed to make plastic and the burning of fossil fuels currently used in the process. 

The research centers around a key chemical building block used in the plastic making process called ethylene. At the present time, ethylene is used as a precursor product in the plastic making process. Most importantly, the process that the University of Toronto research has come up to make ethylene has proven to be both efficient and stable. 

The goal of developing this process is simple. There are very good technologies in place that can catch COemissions from industrial flue stacks. The problem lies in the fact that there is very little incentive for companies to install this technology because it’s expensive and the captured COhas no value. If the COnow has value because it can be made into plastic, it will help companies offset the costs of installing CO2, reducing equipment on their flue stacks. 

The University of Toronto’s Applied Science & Engineering Department research even took things a step further in an environmentally friendly way by powering the research process with renewable and wind energy.  

The Future Looks Bright for CO2-Capture Technologies 

It’s simply amazing what science and research teams are able to accomplish these days when they set their minds to improving the world we live in. It’s even more amazing when that research creates useful products and helps clean up the environment at the same time. It appears that in the future CO2-capture technologies will have a big role to play in cleaning up the air we breathe and lessening the impact COhas on Global warming. 

Sources: 

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180607112759.htm

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180517143614.htm

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