This is very cool:
Scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have discovered a chemical reaction to turn CO2 into ethanol, potentially creating a new technology to help avert climate change. Their findings were published in the journal ChemistrySelect.
The researchers were attempting to find a series of chemical reactions that could turn CO2 into a useful fuel, when they realized the first step in their process managed to do it all by itself. The reaction turns 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. The nanotechnology allows the reactions to be very precise, with very few contaminants.
I’ll let Tom and Tim talk more about this because they are more hard science inclined than I am, but this could change everything. Again, they can discuss the details, but I will use this as an opportunity to make a political point.
The sheer volume of scientific and technological breakthroughs that occur with a couple of men and women in lab coats standing around and saying “Holy shit- did that just happen?” would boggle your mind. Things we take for granted- X-rays, the microwave, synthetic dyes, and on and on. A complete list would fill this blog. I’m assuming you have all read your Kuhn and are up to speed on paradigm shifts, but this is why we fund basic and applied research at the federal level. It’s honestly some of the best money we spend, if not the best, and it is a mere fraction of our budget. It should probably be triple what it is now.
This happened at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Their budget- $1.64 billion.
Science? Bah humbug. Is this mentioned in the Bible? Of course not. Therefore it must be the work of Satan and never allowed to happen.
Does this mean I can recursively make my homebrew even stronger by turning the CO2 its fermentation produces into alcohol?
Very cool. I happen to be a fan of ethanol, so this could be a win-win. And if they built a commercial plant in Kentucky….
And in fusion news, this.
@trollhattan: I’m still waiting for the ‘Mr. Fusion’ canisters.
Very cool. Bet the corn farmers are nervous–they can be replaced by air?
I am sitting in a very nice cafe waiting for my 6 pm class to start and I just figured out how to turn my phone into a hot spot so I can surf the net on my computer and I am just as proud of myself as a cat with two tails. You have no idea how weird it is to be like some Jerry Lewis character in Drag “oldest co-ed goes to school.” The kids sitting around me at this cafe are all discussing their retainers. And they are also in class with me. So when I get something technological to work I’m super excited.
Republicans have been starving the National Labs. Recent PhDs are making poverty level wages at adjunct and post-doc jobs because tax cuts for job creators are more important than $ for pure research.
Sounds like s0cialism to me.
Drill baby driiiiiiilllllllllllll
emails Emails EMAILS EMAILS EMAILS
Yet another big government plot against coal miners and oil workers — and they’ll do anything to frustrate Donald’s excuse to go to war in the Middle East and take all our oil from those dusky foreigners.
ETA: @aimai: You’re right! I forgot about this entirely being payback against Iowa.
Seriously though, brewing is very energy and resource intensive, and produces significant waste. Many breweries, such as New Belgium and Alaska to name a couple with which I’m familiar, already stress mitigating that by capturing CO2 and burning spent plant matter as fuel.
Brewers like them might be interested in piloting such a conversion process to run their facilities.
There was some paint on Volvo radiators that claimed clean up the air also. Never heard any more about it.
I think the chemists all know that the energetics are not right for getting a fuel out of CO2. I am doubtful.
@aimai: It’ll be a while. ‘Nanospikes on a silicon surface’ doesn’t sound like a process that scales well. But we shall see.
Nonsense. First, you need Tridium, and someone willing to have mechanical arms fused to their body in order to handle it. And no good can come from that.
I knew I’d get an excuse to use this somewhere…
compared with steelmaking? Are the breweries hiring electrical power plants the way Alcoa does?
One thing that many “limited government” types (you know the ones that constantly dry hump and fetishize the constitution) never mention is the direct mandate to the congress to provide for the general welfare AND to fund basic science research.
Fuck those fucking fuckers
Mike in Pasadena
What was the source of the photo. Come on, spill it. Two guys wearing bras as hats? I have to see that.
I wonder how much energy is required for the CO2+?>C2H6O+? conversion, and if it could be used to convert excess green energy sources like solar or wind to a storable fuel for downtime generation as well as vehicle fuel.
@catclub: Oh, it definitely takes energy to do this process, but the article points out that it could make sense to even out demand spikes. So when it’s really windy you use your windmill to turn CO2 into ethanol, then when it’s not windy you burn your ethanol for fuel. It’s a carbon-neutral way to even out the main problem with renewables, which is what to do when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining.
@MattF: There’s no intrinsic reason why this can’t be done on a larger scale. Nanoscale catalysts are used all over the place in the chemical industry.
@Mike in Pasadena:
Back to 80’s movie school for you.
@MattF: Maybe it will achieve sentience and the process will go faster.
@Mike in Pasadena: dude… you didn’t watch a lot of HBO in the 80s, didja?
It’s from Weird Science. One of the most 80s movies of the 80s.
SiubhanDuinne, liberal mob enforcer bitch
Could have HUUUUGE implications for future Iowa caucuses! Retail politics may never be the same.
Pest Bog Mummy, Frakensteinbeck
It would take a truly enormous amount of ethanol production to make a difference. That does not seem likely to me. Growing trees and using them for anything but burning would work better, but I suppose every bit helps.
@MattF: Allso rather depends on how much energy it takes to construct these, how long they last, etc etc. etc. If true, will be interesting to watch develop. Can even learn from where it falls apart, if it goes somewhat pear-shaped.
I think the best we can hope for is the existing hot air cools down.
@Pest Bog Mummy, Frakensteinbeck: The goal isn’t to reduce the concentration of CO2 in the air with this process; you’d have to use a TON of energy to make that much ethanol this way. The point is to use excess energy generated by renewables to make ethanol, so you can burn it as a carbon-neutral fuel source later.
@Pest Bog Mummy, Frakensteinbeck:
True dat. But we do have an enormous amount of CO2 to start with. And it’s free! Sorta.
@Mike in Pasadena: A movie called Weird Science
The Moar You Know
The trillion-dollar question: how much energy does the conversion process take? It won’t fuel itself, we all know that (no such thing as a perpetual motion machine) but can it isolate more CO2 than it generates? If so, worth doing. If not, well, another scientific curiosity.
It’s also interesting among all the Ethanol sources in that it doesn’t go though a plant, meaning no loss of potential agricultural land (ignoring all the ocean-based options for this, clearly) and there’s less hauling the biomass around to where-ever it’s processed.
@scav: this is the part the Iowans are really gonna hate.
The Moar You Know
@catclub: You mean making aluminium. Steelmaking doesn’t take much power at all.
This is from Popular Mechanics. I’m still waiting for my flying car, so it may be a while before we see this technology, if ever.
i hope the byproduct of this process (assuming it’s legit) isn’t a new lease on life for internal combustion automobiles tho.
Thanks ever so much for the shoutout, John. I work on fusion energy at Oak Ridge , and your characterization of the scientific/engineering R and D process “Holy shit- did that just happen?” is dead on, except for the bit about the white coats. Most of us wear jeans and shirts with collars once we get out of grad school. And by the way, the motivation for key breakthroughs is seldom careful strategic thought, but rather “hey, wouldn’t that be cool !!!”. Science is a human adventure with all the agony and ecstasy of sports, arts and other endeavors. Not dry and dusty at all. I have been fortunate enough in my career to have had these WOOT moments in eight countries and five languages, and it never gets old.
@catclub: How clever of you to mention this key fact: carbon dioxide is really stable. The flashy catalyst they are using is also a problem. The process has to scale if it has any chance of succeeding. So it is heavily dependent on the catalyst cost. I’m skeptical…they can do it in a lab, can they do it fast enough and cheap enough outside of the lab?
@Hoodie: Its actually from Chemistry Select – peer reviewed journal. Just cited in Popular Science.
I’ve been to ORNL twice. It’s an awesome place where people are doing awesome things. It’s interesting not just for the research they’re doing now but also for the amazing stuff they did in the 40s — not just building the first continuously operated nuclear reactor but also for the amazing project of building a town of 40,000 in the middle of nowhere for a secret purpose that didn’t leak out. It’s an awesome trip if you’re into physics and WWII history.
@The Moar You Know: Depends. The steel mill I worked at had electric furnaces. Zzzzzzzzzap!
I checked out the author list on the CO2 chemistry paper. 6 of the 11 authors originally came to the US from China for graduate school or post docs. Immigrants play a key role in scientific research around the world, because all that counts in science is what you can do. This is just as true now as it was at the time of the Manhattan Project in WWII. For example— I regularly eat lunch with 4 brilliant PhDs from Mexico, Spain, and Colombia. If the US makes immigration much more difficult, our R and D effort could collapse.
@Steve!: Man, did I suck at chemistry, but what you say makes sense, as far as I understand it.
And what what is so great about ethanol, unless you burn it to produce energy, thereby putting the CO2 back into the atmosphere? So big nuthinburger?
But, seems to me what is nice about this is that it allows swapping of different ways for storing energy so we can get it into useful forms to do work, while reducing the amount of new CO2 released into the atmosphere.
Does it make sense overall? I guess have to include the economic and CO2 costs of producing a scalable efficient equipment and that catalyst.
I guess some engineers will calculate that out. And in terms of widespread adoption, a carbon tax would help the ‘magic’ market figure it out.
But I sucked at chemistry, so that is just me thinking out loud, Maybe someone who knows about it can explain more.
Interesting that this was an unexpected surprise, that it works so well. I have been exposed to chemists doing applied work, when I’ve helped them with the stats. Seemed to me that chemistry is not as well understood as I thought it was. Often lots of intermediate reactions the chemists have to guess about, and some of them spend quite a bit of time trying understand the whole chain between the inputs and the output of interest. Can be a whole zoo of stuff going on that theory can’t tell you much about. That was my non-chemists impression.
She Blinded Me With Science!
@The Moar You Know:
That isn’t really relevant. Energy doesn’t have to produce CO2. Yes, it takes energy to turn the CO2 into ethanol. And if you used oil/natural gas/coal to create that energy, you would still be adding net CO2 to the atmosphere. But if the energy you are using to fuel the process is from wind/solar/hyrdo/nuclear/etc you are removing net CO2 from the atmosphere no matter how efficient the process is. For something like solar or wind, where you are generating energy not based on demand, it makes sense to use some of the extra energy on this.
@Tim C.: great. Now I’ve got an Oingo Boingo earworm.
” How clever of you to mention this key fact: carbon dioxide is really stable. ”
But that is the whole point of inventing or discovering new catalysts, right? To reduce the energy input required to create a chemical reaction?
Am I missing something?
Incomplete without this: “So, what would you little maniacs like to do first?”
@Andrew Beck: Thanks. That is my understanding.
bookmark that link about the CO2-to-ethanol for the next time some fucking glibertarian tries to tell you that government spending never created a single job nor does anything to grow the economy and everything that is useful only comes from private industry.
Villago Delenda Est
This is very interesting, and if it’s a low cost process, could be revolutionary.
I’m sure that there will be those who will react to it pretty much as japa21 outlined at the top of the thread, however. The incredibly stupid have to be incredibly stupid.
@Politically Lost: the best and only necessary answer to fucktards who love to scream that the Constatooshun don’t got not one werd in it ’bout no health care or food stamps, is the ‘general welfare’ clause. It’s pretty hard to argue with; much clearer wording than the 2A and SC precedent backing it up. Congress has every right to levy taxes and spend money for whatever it deems the general welfare of the nation. Such as interstate highways. Or single payer health care.
To be sure, this only applies at the federal level. That is why states are allowed to say no to PPACA. They are fools to do so, but there’s nothing forcing them to participate.
@Pest Bog Mummy, Frakensteinbeck:
Growing trees and using them for anything but burning would work better
As would simply restoring a fraction of Iowa’s tiled cornfields to the original peat-producing wetlands.
As a simple engineer, it’s difficult for me to see how the energetics of running combustion backwards to produce fuel from the products of combustion can possibly be more favorable than photosynthesis followed by fermentation, neither of which requires a great deal of outside help, but
– I have not investigated
– I probably wouldn’t understand the catalytic chemistry
Villago Delenda Est
@r€nato: Odds are good the glibertarian will do it over the Intertubes, which are in and of themselves, and the computers connected to them, products of teh evil government’s innovation killing ways.
To paraphrase Nelson Muntz, you gotta burn something. If you burn fossil fuels, the carbon that was trapped deep in the ground, not helping to warm the planet, is now in the atmosphere helping to warm the planet. If you burn ethanol (whether it’s from corn or this process), the carbon in that ethanol was already in the atmosphere (either the corn took in CO2 to grow, or this process was used) and so there’s no net increase. The latter is called a closed carbon cycle.
Villago Delenda Est
@vhh: I worship you guys like gods, and you tell me to get real and think, and it’s just a terribly bad feedback loop, because for all the reasons you cited, and more, it’s exciting and great and thank you for doing what you love to do!
I’m in the process of reviewing magnetic resonance and.. damn. I’m impressed every time I read about it.
Villago Delenda Est
@catclub: That’s aluminum making, which is why Alcoa was big in the PNW, all that hyrdopower and furthermore Boeing to buy up their product.
This is why there’s still research to do! What you’re describing is just the process of research – very smart people figuring out what they don’t know, and then trying to understand it. Luckily there’s still stuff that’s not fully understood, or else all those people would be out of a job!
I don’t do chemistry research anymore, I just teach it. But even that’s a lot of fun, because now instead of trying to figure out how to get chemicals to do what I want, I try to figure out how to get people to learn about what the chemicals are doing. It’s mostly very interesting.
@Villago Delenda Est: yes, and I’ve witnessed glibertarians trying to argue that one, such as ‘it wasn’t really the internet’ or ‘private enterprise would have come up with it eventually’. At which point I just give up because why waste time arguing with the willfully obtuse, or I just scoff at their childish naiveté that big corporations – such as Verizon and Comcast that are already trying to demolish net neutrality – would ever come up with a worldwide computer network that wasn’t a walled garden with tolls everywhere in sight.
Villago Delenda Est
@r€nato: Fun fact: the Pentagon asked Ma Bell to come up with a way to allow their computers to share data long distance, and Ma Bell said it could not be done. So the Pentagon asked DARPA to look into it, since Ma Bell was being so negative about it.
Here we are, in 2016, exchanging data strings long distance.
Realistically, though, we need a thorough reform of scientific career paths. The best way I’ve heard it described is that we’ve gotten our product and byproduct confused. Academia is supposed to be about teaching people, after which they go out and have real careers; educated people are the product and research is the byproduct. Instead, academia has become research focused, with graduate students and postdocs seen primarily as a source of cheap labor; research is the main product and educated people are the byproduct.
The problem is that this encourages universities to produce far more PhDs and postdocs than there are permanent positions for, and to exploit them for as long as possible before turning them loose. The result has been longer and longer times to get a PhD, and more time spend in postdocs before a researcher is considered ready for a long-term- even if not necessarily tenure track- position. Even then, there aren’t enough positions for all the people who have completed their postdocs, so lots of researchers wind up going into other fields, e.g. all the physicists who went on to be quants on Wall Street. We need to reorganize the system so the number of graduate students is closer to the number of actual research job openings, with the unmet research needs met by hiring more long-term PhD-level research staff, either in universities or research institutions like Oak Ridge.
@Steve!: Thanks. Yes, that was the point I was trying to make. You can use wind or solar energy to move CO2 already in the atmosphere into carbon in ethanol, and then burn it to produce energy for work. Means net decrease in buried dead plant carbon buried deep in the earth released into the atmosphere needed to do a given amount of work that humans find useful.
Hope i got that right.
@jl: Yep, you did.
Fuel? These guys just learned how to directly convert CO2 into high-end hooch!
And I’m rather ashamed that I’m the only one who was struck by that fact.
@r€nato: Nowadays, very little fundamental R and D comes from industry. Once upon a time, corporate labs like Bell Labs, GE, RCA and Westinghouse did significant fundamental research. But those places were shut down long ago. The basic research is carried out in university and national labs that are funded by NSF, DOE, NIH etc. DOD used to fund considerable fundamental research, but is focused more these days on work of direct military interest. To be sure, Intel, Apple, Big Pharma etc do research, but it is now very directly oriented to products, and is leveraged off of ideas generated in publicly funded labs. What is worrisome is that our international competitors, notably Japan, Germany and China, are increasing their R & D investments while, outside of health research, those of the US are flat or declining in dollars (and definitely declining as a fraction of GDP). It can be argued that in fact properly chosen scientific and engineering research costs less than nothing when the benefits to the economy are factored in. But here’s the problem: the GOP used to be very pro science—even Mr Conservative, Barry Goldwater, was a keen supporter—but has been taken over by right wing religious nuts who are profoundly anti science. These days, a majority of GOP officeholders will not publicly support evolution (proven by annual flu vaccine development and many other things), climate change, or even the idea that the Earth was formed a lot earlier than 6000 years ago. There are some frightening polls out that show that public understanding and support of proven science–eg, evolution— are as low in the US as they are in Iran. We are going backwards.
@NCSteve: Ethanal High end? Just what is your low end?
@The Moar You Know:
Sure it does. Melting scrap steel doesn’t take that much, but reducing iron from ore takes a ton of energy. It’s just that we tend to provide that energy in the form of metallurgical coke (i.e. fossil fuel) rather than electricity.
I want to see it replicated and more than one team interested. Too many articles like this (“gasoline from anything” “power with garbage” “reactionless drive” and let us not forget “cold fusion”) are rushed to publication to get eyeballs.
that it’s a peer-reviewed reputable journal is interesting, though. But when the first sentence of the journal article includes ‘carbon-free future’ I am thinking this is just a bit clickbaity, even if the science might be something real.
articles like this. Two reasons:
1. As a number of commenters have noted and is sorta kinda noted in passing in the article, the only way to make alcohol, or any fuel, from CO2 is to add energy. CO2 is the end product of energy-producing reactions, specifically combustion, and you can’t go backwards without adding more energy than you will ever get out of the fuel you produce. Ironclad. Second Law of Thermodynamics.
That said, it might be useful for soaking up excess energy from solar or wind.
2. The proof of principle described took place on very small scale, benchtop as we call it. It will have to be scaled up enormously to make a difference. That is hard to do for many reasons, some technical, some economic. The great advances described in most articles like this never get there.
That said, maybe some billionaire, now that we’ve entrusted most of our scientific progress to them by not insisting they pay taxes, will pick it up and try to commercialize it.
Totally OT: A cat by the name of Max has agreed to share my house, so I guess I’m now an official BJ-er.
Ought to be a rotating tag for Open Thread.
” And I’m rather ashamed that I’m the only one who was struck by that fact. ”
I didn’t want to seem like a boor. But, yeah, have some cocktails and hard likker and fight global warming! WV should be on board. If you can age it in barrels and make some good bourbon, maybe KY will be interested as well.
When you see these ideas for turning CO2 into fuel immediately check to see if they are talking about using atmospheric CO2 (good) or does the process need concentrated CO2 (coal and gas plant smokestacks).
Leave fossil fuels in the ground.
I suppose it depends on whether accounting for total BTUs or just Kwh.
Integrated lines are much more energy intensive than EAFs. Which is one of the reasons why EAFs now provide the majority of US steel production. Rather than the bullshit in that stupid Billy Joel song.
As many have pointed out, the win here is taking excess electricity generated by renewables (wind, solar, possible wave or tide) and turning it into a fuel using carbon already in the atmosphere.
The catalyst cost is not necessarily an issue, if it has a long enough life (and this catalyst is relatively cheap — carbon and copper, not platinum or gold!).
Nano spikes are nice in that they can give a lot of surface area for the reaction to occur, potentially increasing throughput. (I presume you want to run under conditions where ethanol is a vapor, not a liquid.)
My hope (and it is simple, ignorant, hope) is that they can tweak the catalyst and/or electrical conditions to turn CO2 and hydrogen into natural gas (methane, CH4 and oxygen or water), as that is something we have good infrastructure in place to store, transport, and burn.
BTW — for solar, the energetics going from sunlight -> ethanol this way are dominated by the efficiency of the solar -> electricity conversion. Using
* photovoltaics at 20% efficiency,
* calling the conversion to ethanol 67% efficient (they said 60-70%),
* noting that E85 fuel (85% ethanol) gives about 3/4ths the milage of regular gasoline,
gives us roughly a 10% efficiency from sunlight to miles driven.
The solar resource in AZ and NM is around 6 kWh/day for 1 m^2 of solar panel (from the NREL map Google found for me, it assumes a flat PV plate tilted). At 10% end-end efficiency that gives 0.6 kWhr/day for a 1m^2 panel. One gallon of gasoline is 33.7 kWh (thank you Google), so 56 m^2 (~620 ft^2) of solar panels in the southwest desert generates a gallon of gasoline per day.
FWIW, for solar, the energetics would be better if the reaction could be thermally driven rather than electrically driven.
Neat stuff, and again, I expect the win will be learning how to tailor such catalysts for specific reactions.
Not exactly. There are two ways you use energy in a chemical reaction. One is the primary energy, like the difference in energy between CO2 and water (starting materials) and ethanol (final products). That energy difference is the same no matter how you get from one to the other; it’s a basic thermodynamic property of the materials. Importantly, the energy you put in to convert CO2 and water into ethanol and oxygen is the same as the energy you get out by converting ethanol and oxygen back into CO2 and water.
The other energy is extra energy it takes to do things like heating, cooling, compressing, etc. materials to make the reaction take place in a practical amount of time and space. That energy is more or less wasted. It doesn’t get stored as the chemical energy of the final products, so in the end you wind up getting less energy out that the total you put in. Catalysts can reduce that energy waste by letting the reaction take place under more amenable conditions, but they can never reduce the waste below zero.
@catclub: The reaction requires an applied voltage (according to the ORNL announcement), so that’s where the energy is coming from. They claim it’s scalable, but that may be more hope than accurate knowledge.
Villago Delenda Est
It really is the best place for them, no matter how much it hurts the friends of the Koch Brothers and Dick Cheney.
The key things to understand are:
1) photosynthesis is surprisingly inefficient at converting sunlight into chemical energy
2) much of the chemical energy plants store is in forms we can’t easily ferment (e.g. cellulose, lignin)
We’re working on 2), but there really isn’t much we can do about 1). As I understand it, with the current available efficiency of solar cells, you don’t have to be very efficient at converting electricity into stored chemical energy to beat growing plants and fermenting them into fuel.
@Pest Bog Mummy, Frakensteinbeck:
Conservatives (a misnomer if there ever was one) argue that wind and solar can’t be any good because they don’t provide all our energy needs. But they don’t have to, solar and wind can take up a large portion of the gaps. And while we may have a hard time seeing that happen in many parts of the country our government understands. At the larger VA clinics/hospital that I go to they have large solar farms, both dedicated areas and parking lot overhead structures. Considering the amount of cells, I’d bet that most to all of the daytime needs are met with solar.
@The Moar You Know:
Beg your pardon? Yes aluminum takes a lot of energy to create from raw materials but recycling is not nearly as big an electrical hog. And making steel does take a fair bit of energy, steel melting point is around 1510 C and aluminum is 660 C, not an insignificant difference.
I found data on energy to produce a kg of various materials here (can’t vouch for its accuracy)
This has iron ore -> iron at 20-25 MJ/kg
iron -> steel at 20-50 MJ /kg
bauxite -> aluminum 227-342 MJ / kg
For energy use by sector globally, I found
The top 5 energy conusumers are production of steel (> 30 EJ/yr), cement (~12 EJ/yr), paper (~10 EJ/yr), aluminium (8 EJ/yr) and aggregated plastics (6 EJ/yr).
We make a lot of steel!
The Pale Scot
Turning’ my exhale breath into Uisce beatha…
That’s a fine wizardry there say I
That’s not an argument; it’s an excuse. They don’t want to change from our current system- actually a fairly good definition of a conservative- so they look for any problem with the proposed alternative as a reason to reject it. Somehow that kind of problem never seems to slow them down when it’s a change they want to make.
@catclub: No, not at all. But for a recreational product… Something like 8 gallons of water for each gallon of beer produced. And energy consumption? It’s high, but probably not smelting ore high.
And I have no idea how other industries capture or reuse the left overs from their production. I do know how some in the brewing industry do it. And I know some are already capturing CO2. And I know that many brewers are highly interested in mitigating the negative outputs from their production. Many have gone much further than any regulatory compliance compels and I think would be interested in pursuing other opportunities, such as this one presents.
@Villago Delenda Est: Alcoa went into Russia bigtime, cheap hydropower near bauxite. Their operations in Alcoa, TN are now in recycling.
been there, done that. well, not the co-ed part. i was by far the oldest person in my computer science classes…was 40 when i started…
@Jim Bales: I wonder whether you could run this as a photoelectrolytic reaction with the Cu-graphene as a coating for a photoelectrode
And by the way, the first patents on artificial photosynthesis date back to before Nixon was impeached: Goda and BrooksBrooks
@Kayla Rudbek: GodaGoda
Photo-catalysis would rock! I’m not certain how much of the spectrum would be useful, I expect it would take high energy photons, bringing us back to low overall efficiency.
Maybe split off the longer wavelengths and throw them onto a PV cell?
Actually I was riffing on the conservation theme. Waste not want not and all that.
However a lot of fairly conservative areas have installed wind turbines and solar. What it seems to me is that they are more opposed to anything promoted by democrats rather than something that might just benefit them. I’m talking the more mainstream conservatives not the loony bin level.
@scav: Low end? That’s ethanol with lots of congeners.
Shoot, take some high purity ethanol like this and cut it 40:60 with distilled water, add a tiny dash of potassium chloride, Epsom salts and table salt, put it into a pretty bottle with some made-up mythology ads and you’ve got super-premium vodka.
Could really only make gin or vodka with it, though. Everything else has regulatory definitions attached requiring the alcohol to come from fermented vegetable matter.
@Brent: And in Chemistry Select, they’re not quite as enthused :
” but they can never reduce the waste below zero. ”
thanks for the info, but I never said anything that implied or even hinted that using catalyst could eliminate waste below zero.
I can’t believe I just read that in a BJ comment.
Who hates the idea of a solar-powered still that creates 190 proof from air? It will be as illegal AF to have one on your roof.
@Aardvark Cheeselog: Now that I’ve actually read the ChemSelect article, I see that you wouldn’t want to drink what comes out of this process without additional purification. Going blind would be the least of your worries, I’d bet.