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Producing Ethanol From Carbon Monoxide....Done

04/09/2014 3:18 PM

Scientists Discover Efficient Way to Turn Carbon Monoxide Into Ethanol


"A team at Stanford University reports today in Nature that they have a novel way to produce ethanol from carbon monoxide (CO) gas using a metal catalyst made of copper nanocrystals.

"We have discovered the first metal catalyst that can produce appreciable amounts of ethanol from carbon monoxide at room temperature and pressure-a notoriously difficult electrochemical reaction," said senior study author and Stanford chemistry professor Matthew Kanan in a press release."

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/green-tech/fuel-cells/stanford-carbon-monoxide-ethanol

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#1

Re: Producing ethanol from carbon monoxide....Done

04/09/2014 4:07 PM

Cool. Getting 50% efficiency is significant.

I know that this is preliminary research and that much more needs to be done to make this part of a production application but I wonder where they plan to get the carbon monoxide?

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#2
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Re: Producing ethanol from carbon monoxide....Done

04/09/2014 4:17 PM

I would guess from Co²....this is an article from 2007....
"Researchers are harnessing solar energy to convert carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide, which can be used to make fuels."


"Could concentrated solar energy be used to reverse combustion and convert carbon dioxide back into gasoline? That's what scientists at Sandia National Laboratories, in Albuquerque, NM, aim to find out by building a novel reactor that can chemically "reenergize" carbon dioxide.

The device uses a two-stage thermochemical reaction to break down carbon dioxide to produce carbon monoxide, says Nathan Siegel, a senior member of technical staffat Sandia's Solar Technologies Department and one of the researchers developing the technology. "Carbon dioxide is a combustion product, so what we're doing is reversing combustion," he says. The carbon monoxide can then readily be employed to produce a range of different fuels, including hydrogen, methanol, and gasoline, using conventional technologies."

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/409206/turning-carbon-dioxide-into-fuel/

Where do they get the CO²? My guess would be seawater....

"CO2 in the air and in seawater is an abundant carbon resource, but the concentration in the ocean (100 milligrams per liter [mg/L]) is about 140 times greater than that in air, and 1/3 the concentration of CO2 from a stack gas (296 mg/L). Two to three percent of the CO2 in seawater is dissolved CO2 gas in the form of carbonic acid, one percent is carbonate, and the remaining 96 to 97 percent is bound in bicarbonate. "

http://www.nrl.navy.mil/media/news-releases/2014/scale-model-wwii-craft-takes-flight-with-fuel-from-the-sea-concept

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#9
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Re: Producing ethanol from carbon monoxide....Done

04/10/2014 9:43 AM

With all the CO2 capture and storage requirements they're putting on power plants it would be a great use onsite so storage could be minimized and even excess electricity could be utilized to help the solar power when needed.

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#10
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Re: Producing ethanol from carbon monoxide....Done

04/10/2014 9:48 AM

Co2 is easy to come by cheap energy is not. Something like geothermal might be feasible. The plants could be located in remote places where the cheap energy can't be used for anything else.

It will still cost more energy to make that to burn so the process would need to be heavily subsidised from a C02 production tax.

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#12
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Re: Producing ethanol from carbon monoxide....Done

04/10/2014 9:51 AM

guys, we are talking about co, not co2, BIG difference here.

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#14
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Re: Producing ethanol from carbon monoxide....Done

04/10/2014 10:04 AM

I was referring to Solar Eagle's post about turning CO2 into fuel and the availability of CO2 due to Carbon Capture and Storage requirements being imposed on several industries like power generation, refineries, etc.

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#15
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Re: Producing ethanol from carbon monoxide....Done

04/10/2014 10:18 AM

No, this sub-branch thread is about the research at Sandia to turn CO2 into CO. This combined with the lead in main thread topic of a copper catalyst that turns CO into C2H5OH might one day allow for stand alone renewable energy capture that stores the energy chemically.

The copper catalyst and the Sandia research are complimentary small steps in trying to solve the renewable energy problem.

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#16
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Re: Producing ethanol from carbon monoxide....Done

04/10/2014 10:27 AM

Here is the simple truth, there is no such thing as renewable energy. Entropy must increase. Just as there is no such thing as sustainability, for the exact same reason. Words mean things and these words do not mean what you apparently think they do.

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#17
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Re: Producing ethanol from carbon monoxide....Done

04/10/2014 11:12 AM

"Here is the simple truth, there is no such thing as renewable energy. Entropy must increase. Just as there is no such thing as sustainability, for the exact same reason. Words mean things and these words do not mean what you apparently think they do."

Yes, all of this in meaningless, everything we do, even breathing, even EXISTING brings us closer to the Heat Death of the Universe, where everything, including timespace itself will cease to exist in any way we can describe or understand. We should all dress in black to mourn the impending End of Everything, wear heavy mascara, light black candles, and cut ourselves while listening to ... um, what type of music do hardcore Goths listen to anyway?

That moment of emo aside. If we take a more 'selfish' view and look at 'renewable' and 'sustainable' from a merely global perspective rather than universal, we see a brighter picture. There is a strong energy input on the planet from solar radiation, aka 'sunlight' that this planet converts into kinetic energy (wind patterns and weather), thermal 'resevoirs,' (heated rock formations and lakes/oceans, which return this heat after they rotate into shadow), and even complex hydrocarbon chains (through photosynthesis, storing the energy as carbohydrates). If we can tap into these energy sources, we can use them until the Sun runs out of fuel (which it is burning at its own rate regardless of our actions here).

We're not looking for the Free Lunch, we're just looking for the Free-For-Me Lunch, and in the process, reduce use of the 'messier' entrees on the menu, so we don't have to wash as many dishes later. (Assuming I didn't stretch that analogy too far and I'm still making sense.)

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#18
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Re: Producing ethanol from carbon monoxide....Done

04/10/2014 11:21 AM

No solar panel yet made will EVER generate more energy in it's lifetime than it takes to manufacture it. so just like ethanol from corn, it is false economy.

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#8
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Re: Producing ethanol from carbon monoxide....Done

04/10/2014 8:53 AM

The farm lobby and the railroads will hate this, but the refineries will love it. Syngas is easy to make from Natural Gas or waste Hydocarbons (both of which can be shipped via pipeline, which ethanol cannot.) and Ethanol can then be made on site as needed, instead of having to be shipped via rail from the cornbelt. and the investments in distilleries that ADM and Conagra have made will be shot to hell. but food prices will come way down since we will no longer be turning food into additives for gasoline. Originally when the mandate to replace MTBE came down the refineries wanted to use Methanol which could be made using a process similar to that used to make MTBE and using much of the same equipment, but the farm lobby had a cow and demanded that ethanol be used so they could sell more corn, never mind the fact that since it was hydroscopic it could not be shipped via pipeline, or that it damaged conventional fuel systems.

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#3

Re: Producing Ethanol From Carbon Monoxide....Done

04/09/2014 5:02 PM

interesting work by the Cardinals. they note that, "copper is cheap and abundant". we currently burn about 400 MILLION gallons of gas a day in the US. I wonder how long copper will be "cheap and abundant" @ that burn rate?

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#4
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Re: Producing Ethanol From Carbon Monoxide....Done

04/09/2014 5:51 PM

This form of copper is a catalyst not a reagent. The copper will not be consumed like the carbon monoxide or the hydrogen reagent (water?). Entropy still rules the universe. I do not expect this copper catalyst to last forever.

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#5
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Re: Producing Ethanol From Carbon Monoxide....Done

04/09/2014 6:39 PM

I liked the article and love the work. as I read it they have more research yet.if its coming from a Calif school you know its good

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#6
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Re: Producing Ethanol From Carbon Monoxide....Done

04/09/2014 11:49 PM

Just as good as from a caliph school....

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#13
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Re: Producing Ethanol From Carbon Monoxide....Done

04/10/2014 10:02 AM

"Entropy still rules the universe. I do not expect this copper catalyst to last forever."

The copper-bearing elements (grate, beads, etc) will 'wear out' and lose effectiveness, but that will be due to 'fouling' (residue buildup or slow oxidation) rather than the copper being 'used up' and no longer there.

If the copper is used as solid copper grates or beads, as opposed to copper plating over the grate/beads, then the 'old' catalyst material can simply be tossed into a forge, the slag (which isn't copper anyway, so we're not throwing away anything important) skimmed off the top, and the pure copper cast into new catalyst grates/beads.

That is one of the beauties of non-alloy metals; they are a single element, so you can always melt it down and reuse it. You can do the same with alloys, but you have to may more attention to the ratios of the different elements in the mix. get the 'recipe' wrong and your steel will be too brittle, or too soft, or too susceptible to rust, depending on what you wanted and what you ended up making. Copper is copper, melt it down and recast it as many times as you want and it'll still be copper.

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#11
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Re: Producing Ethanol From Carbon Monoxide....Done

04/10/2014 9:50 AM

compared to the platinum group metals, it is dirt cheap.

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#7

Re: Producing Ethanol From Carbon Monoxide....Done

04/09/2014 11:55 PM

If our goal is to outdo the Soviets in parapsychology and pseudoscience, we must be on the fast track.

See Georges Clemenceau on military intelligence....

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#19

Re: Producing Ethanol From Carbon Monoxide....Done

04/10/2014 3:19 PM

I seem to remember from chemistry way back that methanol can be made from CO and hydrogen, CO + 2H2 = CH3OH, using a heated catalyst. Probably irrelevant, no doubt ethanol is more difficult to make.

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#20
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Re: Producing Ethanol From Carbon Monoxide....Done

04/10/2014 3:49 PM

CH3-OH vs. CH3-CH2-OH

Maybe that's what the 3 witches in Macbeth were stirring up.

Double, double, Toil and Trouble / parties burn and Nonsense bubble."

a little extra Carbon and a little extra hydrogen,

toss it in and stir it up,

out of methanol

we get a little more ethanol

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