Scientists Accidentally Discover Easy Way to Turn CO2 Into Ethanol

The ethanol could then be used to power generators and vehicles.

The process is (supposedly) cheap and efficient, and could be used to remove large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere.

See more:
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/green-tech/a23417/convert-co2-into-ethanol/

Here’s the study:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/slct.201601169/full

Thanks to Linden for these links


28 thoughts on “Scientists Accidentally Discover Easy Way to Turn CO2 Into Ethanol”

  1. When ethanol is used for fuel, it emits CO2.
    Will the cost and materials used in the process be worth turning one CO2 product into another (even if ethanol emits less than gasoline).

    Sounds somewhat like a perpetual motion machine, which have always been debunked.

    • Not really a perpetual motion machine, the energy input used to produce Carbon electrical energy is only about 40% effective, the ethanol process could improve that efficiency by a further 10%.
      The remaining 50% of the energy is used to drive the two processes.
      Wind is around the same 40% effective, but the equipment only lasts 15 years before its capped out.
      Nuclear is far more efficient, and if Humans stopped experimenting with the nuclear process while the system was running, or building them in an Earthquake zones, subject to very large tidal waves, we would have the energy we need without the law of Murphy events and the bad press which goes with them.

  2. That’s probably a good thing, making efficient use of CO2 from fossil fuel burning if that is possible. But, of course, the PM article talks about stopping global warming and we know that CO2 does not cause global warming.

  3. I, for one, am not ready for the pseudo-scientists and global warmists to start messing with the atmospheric CO2! They operate on bad information and will quite likely turn the earth into a desert planet if allowed free rein. How about we let the self-regulating earth handle the problem, as it has done for millions of years.

  4. I notice the AGW link with removing large amounts of Co2 from the atmosphere. The Atmosphere is already CO2 deficient and need to be a third higher than now in order to maintain the bare minimum of CO2 in the atmosphere during the next major Ice glaciation.
    Use the tech for recycling CO2 from brewing, and the Hydrocarbon cycle, by producing Ethanol as a secondary reaction during a power production cycle greater amounts electric energy should be captured from a given gram of fuel.

  5. OMG!! Headline news 2030: Atmospheric CO2 declines at alarming rate. World governments introduce subsidies for offshore CO2 generation plants. University professors sacked for promoting carbon sequestration programs.

  6. So in other words, by taking CO2 out of the atmosphere, we want to kill off trees! I thought the whole Green thing was about encouraging more tree growth. Lets not forget, historically speaking (by historically, I mean, with respect to the last several hundred million years), we are a record lows of C02.

    Wasn’t there several articles just posted on the last few weeks on this very site showing how there were much larger amounts off CO2 in the air than today, and illustrating how C02 is good?

    I for one vote for MORE C02! Burn the coal, burn the gas, burn the oil. This planet is dying, and it ain’t because of fossil fuels, its because we are lacking C02 in the air! Besides ethanol is highly inefficient as an energy source, forget about ethanol….bring back COAL!

    • What the Greens represent now is the early political stages of Animal farm, and the (socialist) Nazi party. The propaganda has been in place for 40 years, the book/dissident burning, and climate re-education or lose your job, programs have, or are about to start.
      Only the climate isn’t going to play ball, it now cooling with a rapid collapse into a MIA period.
      It very difficult for a Green Nazi to proclaim the horrors of AGW when he or she is up to their waists in snow, which his party has forecast to be non-existent for the last 20 years .

  7. But since the air is only 0.04% CO2, they’re gonna have to process a whole helluva lot of air to catalyze a significant amount of ethanol.

    Assuming 100% efficiency, they’d have to process about 4,000 gallons of air to get 1 gallon of ethanol.

  8. Also saw on the popular mechanics site that wave generators are on line in Hawaii – the surfers will be pleased.

  9. Modern “science” is so amazing.

    They “discovered” what happens when grain crops ferment.

    Gosh, if only folks had known 4000 years ago….

  10. That’s great! When can I get started, for Ethanol is “Drinking Alcohol”.
    BTW: The last time I checked one may make up to 200 gallons of drinking alcohol per year for personal consumption without a license. However, I wonder what rules/restrictions they will place upon us for making fuel for our vehicles? Maybe, we can use it to heat our homes when the predicted “Little Ice Age” swings into full fury.

  11. Sound promising but I have my doubts that it will work in the real world.
    The air does contain only 400ppm CO2 and I believe that the process to provide the CO2 into this transformation to Ethanol would be not efficient at all. This means that overall the efficiency will be rather low.
    It sounds to me more like a Perpetuum mobile, which is impossible.
    The only real application would be for storage. Basically using some of the volatile Wind energy to use some of that energy to create Ethanol, as it can be stored quite good. This Ethanol can then be used to drive cars. Maybe the efficiency is a bit better than electric cars.
    However, how often do we have excess Wind energy? We can not even provide a stable energy supply for homes.

  12. with ;luck this wont be scaled up till the extreme cold either wakes em up to reality or freezes them for us;-)
    THE most annoying light/photoshopping yet again on STEAM CLOUDS in chimneys

  13. Good on the one hand but bad on the other.
    Because we humans can now ask – and act on – the question “How much Co2 should we have in the atmosphere”.
    In geological timescale it has of course been way higher than today and has risen and fallen but not as a cause but as a result of warming. It was higher over 100 years ago when Svente Arrhenius first accurately measured it.
    Now, if the ignorant and the mislead try to tinker with nature and evolution we might set off some catastrophe entirely caused by our “playing god” For one thing we risk plant life if it is reduced too much.

  14. Why would we want to remove co2? My trees and garden are growing better than ever. Let’s just starve the planet of one of it’s most important nutrients.

  15. There are LOTS of ways to turn CO2 into ethanol (or methanol, or whatever). Each and every one requires energy input to effect the conversion.

    Show me a pilot plant, where this process is scaled to modest production levels, demonstrates that it is economical, and proves that it can be further scaled to commercial production quantities. If you can do that, I might be interested; otherwise, it’s just a laboratory curiosity.

    You can’t beat thermodynamics, ever.

  16. You BERATE the government for lying about climage change. Yet you BELIEVE the same government for saying it’s created ethanol from carbon dioxide. — A fine thing, picking and choosing only the words of government information that agree with you and then vilifying everything else. This is quite a **self-serving** method of argumentation. Go re-read the Hebrew book of Joshua 24:15 or the New Testament Gospel of Matthew 12:30. Doing this is tantamount to unabashed insincerity.

    • Yet the same texts reserve the “black gold” for visiting the heavens. One could think that our maker wishes us to join him in the heavens.

  17. Highly dubious. More energy had to go into this process than was produced. Ethanol C-H bonds are at a higher energy state than the C-O bonds in CO2. There is no magic around that.

  18. Great balls of fire! We need this process to colonise Mars. Elon Musk should immediately receive more taxpayer money to invest in this to help terraform the red planet.

  19. I’m not a super brain but I am a thinker. (1) The fuel for my home is produced using a solar powered co2 capture process. It’s called a wood stove. (2) the current co2 levels in air is south of 400ppm. most green houses maintain about 2000ppm for best plant growth. plants and trees start to die at 150ppm. (3) The global cooling of the 60s and 70s was blamed gss Hansen and his grant grubbing pals on– wait for it– co2 from cars and industry. (4) The Russians have a hardcore interest in getting this solar cycle 25/26 forecast of rapid cooling right as most of their crop lands would be non productive. Note that the Ukraine was the USSR bread basket. Lastly (5) If it’s a mini IA, we make it, some will not and it’s going to get real hungry out because we are doing ALL the wrong things to get ready. BUT if it’s a full blown ice age, because our 10-12,000 yr interglas. period has timed out, it is worth noting that almost everything we eat and the plants and animals around us have evolved after the last ice age. and almost all the last ice age did not survive the transition to warm. Darwinism works both ways. JUST SAYEN

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