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Scientists find cleaner, more efficient way to turn CO2 into fuel

It could reduce in those moments when you still need gasoline.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
July 31, 2017
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Conventional fuel aren't going away just yet, but that doesn't mean you can't produce them in a more responsible way... and scientists might have found that way. They've developed a process that can convert CO2 into carbon monoxide (and subsequently into fuel) using solar energy with nearly flawless selection -- that is, you can get the material you want virtually every time. The trick was to create a spongy nickel-organic photocatalyst that purposefully includes a lot of defects, letting it produce adequate amounts of carbon monoxide without creating surprise molecules.

There's a lot of work to be done before this method is ready for the real world, particularly when it comes to handling large-scale production, but it raises the possibility of reliably generating synthetic fuels (such as ethanol and acetic acid) with a minimal impact on the environment. Instead of leaning heavily on fossil fuels or farms, you'd mainly need CO2 and some sunlight. The result still wouldn't be completely eco-friendly, but it would be clean enough that companies that still have to use conventional fuels could do so without making CO2 emissions worse than they already are.

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