In their search for a sustainable jet fuel as an alternative to polluting kerosene, American scientists took their inspiration from nature. In photosynthesis, leaves convert CO2 and water into oxygen and carbohydrates. Methanol can be produced from the latter.
Capture methanol on evaporation
Their research was published in Nature Energy. American researchers, led by Professor Yimin Wu, have managed to make a climate-neutral liquid using photosynthesis. He and his team drew the ideas from nature: “We mimic natural leaves. We use carbon dioxide, water and sunlight as sources and produce methanol and oxygen as end products. However, this process is ten times more efficient than photosynthesis in a plant. ” In this process, (cheap) copper oxide is the catalyst in contact with water and CO2. A white light beam replaces natural sunlight and generates a chemical reaction: the conversion of CO2 into methanol. This releases oxygen. When this setup is heated, it is technically possible to capture methanol during the evaporation process.
Cheap, but still futuristic
However, previous pilot projects have shown that it is not so cheap to start producing methanol with captured carbon dioxide. The proposed technique of this American team would already be cheaper. But for this one must first produce a kind of art magazine and then commercialize it.