Scientists in America may have accidentally discovered an efficient process to remove large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere.
Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have fallen upon a chemical reaction to turn CO2 into ethanol, potentially creating a new technology to help avert climate change.
The findings, which have been published in the journal ChemistrySelect, were made when the team were attempting to find a series of chemical reactions that could turn CO2 into a useful fuel, but they realised the first step in the process does it by itself by turning CO2 into ethanol, which could in turn be used to power generators and vehicles.
The tech involves a new combination of copper and carbon arranged into nanospikes on a silicon surface, which allows the reactions to be very precise, with very few contaminants.
“By using common materials, but arranging them with nanotechnology, we figured out how to limit the side reactions and end up with the one thing that we want,” said Adam Rondinone.
“A process like this would allow you to consume extra electricity when it’s available to make and store as ethanol.
“This could help to balance a grid supplied by intermittent renewable sources.”