Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee made a revolutionary discovery as they accidentally stumbled on a chemical reaction that converts carbon IV oxide (i.e. carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas and a waste product of combustion) to ethanol without the use of any form of chemical catalysts.
The United States scientists were performing some experiments in a bid to turning carbon IV oxide into a useful source of energy when it happened; the first step in the series of methods literally, automatically and chemically reacted to produce ethanol. This is a hydrocarbon compound that, although used in the brewing of alcoholic beverages, can be utilized as a source of energy for vehicles and generators. Ethanol, which can also be produced from sugar or corn (i.e. organic matter) is one of the most important biofuels globally.
Nanotechnology (technology for microscopic devices) was employed in this process. Carbon nanospikes, arranged on a silicon surface, were chemically combined with copper. The use of nanotechnology made the chemical reaction to be clear-cut and was helpful in eliminating contaminants or side reactions which could have marred the process. The result was outstanding, to say the least.
The chemicals used in this process are materials that can be found commonly anywhere, and the fact that the reaction from the beginning to the end requires little to no expenditure of energy has made this process the best, compared to the other procedures utilized to convert carbon IV oxide to ethanol. This also implies that the process of conversion can be utilized as a short-term energy storage system during the generation of renewable energy and can be used to adjust the oscillation in a renewable energy grid.
This remarkable discovery is highly applauded by all and sundry, as anyone who desires to use electricity gets to enjoy a bit more of this source of energy as soon as this procedure is made public. Making this option available for users will make the national grid better able to supply useful electricity to the masses.
The scientists behind this ground-breaking discovery are pulling all the resources at their disposal to ensure that they enhance this process as much as possible and within a short time-frame. Making this process of chemically converting carbon IV oxide to ethanol more efficient could lead to a great carbon capture in the nearest future.
The use of solar energy and wind as sources of power is growing day by day, but changes in weather could mar these, and since we cannot control the climate, their efficiency could be affected. But not with this innovative discovery as intense research is still ongoing to find ways of making and storing ethanol from the overabundant carbon IV oxide on earth.
If this experimentation becomes successful, there could be a drastic change from using fossil fuels to using biofuels, since the majority of toxic gas emissions arise from the production of fossil fuels, which in turn influences the climate negatively.