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A CO2-to-fuel process demonstrated

By Scott Jenkins |

Scientists at Carbon Sciences Inc. (Santa Barbara, Calif.; www.carbonsciences.com) have successfully demonstrated a CO2-to-fuel process that proceeds under mild conditions using fluegas emissions as a carbon dioxide source and brackish water as a hydrogen source. The modular, three-step process is highly scalable, says Carbon Sciences chief technology officer Naveed Aslam, and depends on proprietary alkali-salt catalysts and auxiliary chemicals that are recoverable. The possibility exists that the carbon-negative CO2-to-fuel process could allow a self-sustaining power plant that recycles its CO2 from fuel combustion into more fuel. In the first stage, CO2 is hydrogenated at temperatures between 40 and 85°C and pressures of 0.5–10 bar in the presence of the catalyst and an auxiliary chemical. Bicarbonate forms, but is rapidly decomposed into a compound with lower oxygen content. The compound is recovered and converted to methane by stripping its oxygen in a second step. The third step involves synthesis of larger hydrocarbons such, as those found in gasoline. Aslam says that the first step of the process succeeded in converting 30–45% of the CO2 into the low-grade fuel product, a total he hopes will climb to 70–75%…
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