A new catalyst created by U of T Engineering researchers brings them one step closer to artificial photosynthesis — a system that, just like plants, would use renewable energy to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into stored chemical energy.
The finding may help scientists narrow their search for sites where geothermal energy – heat generated and stored in the Earth – could be sustainably recovered.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is known as a greenhouse gas and plays an essential role in climate change; it is no wonder scientists have been looking for solutions to prevent its release in the environment.
Most cars and trucks in the United States run on a blend of 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol, a renewable fuel made primarily from fermented corn.
Currently, it is possible to make fuels out of CO2–plants do it all the time–but researchers are still trying to crack the problem of artificially producing the fuels at large enough scales to be useful.
Ethanol was a surprise — it’s extremely difficult to go straight from carbon dioxide to ethanol with a single catalyst.