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Breakthrough Catalyst for Artificial Photosynthesis

All this talk about solar power and the weird thing is, plants have been doing it since the beginning of, well, plants. For years now, scientists have been trying to duplicate and improve upon the process of photosynthesis (even Jimmy Stewart tried it once.) And now a research group led by Osamu Ishitani has created a new catalyst that could turn CO2 into fuel efficiently, with only the viagra soft power of the sun.

The new catalyst uses ruthenium and rhenium, two elements not found in your average leaf. But they do allow for the same first step (CO2 to CO) that plants use. In fact, it's considerably more efficient and simpler than the way plants do things.

CO is far more reactive than CO2, and so it's fairly simple to do a little bit of old-school organic chemistry to turn CO into burnable hydrocarbons like ethanol.

The trick was using the Ru catalyst to absorb the light, which it does very efficiently in the visual light spectrum, but then using the Re catalyst to actually take the generic cialis for sale electron produced and knock one of the oxygens off of the CO2. The Re complex has a quantum efficiency of buy chinese herbal cialis 0.62, which means it actually uses 62% of the electrons it gets from the Ru catalyst to reduce the CO2. This number is extremely high.

The Ru-Re combination also excels at selecting CO2 over H2O. One big problem with artificial photosynthesis in the past is that these photocatalysts would often reduce water to OH just as easily as they reduced CO2 to CO. That waste of energy forced people to look into ways of scrubbing the CO2 of water (not a simple task.) But with this new catalyst, water isn't a problem.

Now, the only problem is to make sure the catalyst is tramadol 10mb stable and doesn't degrade over time. If they can do order tramadol next day that, then there won't be much between this research and a CO2 to fuel manufacturing plant.

Via TechOn

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Comments (17)Add Comment
written by j, January 09, 2009
if they can truly perfect this, this would be quite amazing.

the concept of renewable energy would be fairly direct in this one:
1. burn some sort of fuel
2. directly capture co2 and make co using the sun
3. produce ethanol
4. burn ethanol and only best offers buy real cialis online repeat

of course you would lose carbon and energy each step of the way, but it still sounds like one of the most efficient ways to produce energy. this is just as much solar power as it is burning carbon for energy. as long as the catalyst doesn't have to be replenished often, i can see this popping up in coal plants everywhere.
written by Clinch, January 09, 2009
Do you mean converting CO2 in to CO AND O, otherwise, what happens to the extra oxygen?

I think this is an interesting new development, but can't see it changing the world, as it seems more efficient to convert the sunlight directly into electricity, rather than through some roundabout way of changing it into CO, and then burning the CO.
A problem
written by bbm, January 09, 2009
Ruthenium is quite rare and expensive.

A problem
written by bbm, January 09, 2009
Ruthenium is quite rare and expensive.

written by amj, January 09, 2009
I'm in the middle of drug cialis reading Arctic Drift, a novel, and Ruthenium is central to the plot as the catalyst for artificial photosynthesis to breakdown CO2 and reverse global warming!
Almost unbelievable
written by Dima Lurie, January 11, 2009
written by Clinch , January 09, 2009
Do you mean converting CO2 in to CO AND O, otherwise, what happens to the extra oxygen?

the process goes like this
or if you didn't study chemistry:
2 molecules of carbon dioxide will turn in one molecule of CO and one molecule of Breathable oxygen.

If the catalyst will be stable you can say Good Bye to Global Worming, as carbon dioxide can be easily pulled from the air there will be no need to burn any fuels in order to get it (burning fuels emits a lot other hazardous gasses).
O2 will probably be used as part of the fuel that will be created at the end or be sold to medical companies.
written by Dima Lurie, January 11, 2009
2 molecules of carbon dioxide will turn in 2 molecule of CO and 1 molecule of Breathable oxygen. my mistake
written by jeff, January 11, 2009
The process could be engineered to sequester carbon by taking atmospheric CO2 and turning it into carbon fiber or a precursor. That could be used to make ultra light vehicles that would require less fuel in the first place.
@clinch - re efficiency
written by mark, January 12, 2009
Yes this will change the world if it works how it initially appears - regardless of efficiency.

They haven't quoted an overall efficiency - but 62% of the electrons are reducing the CO2. Assuming your not using a whole lot of energy in then converting the CO into useful fuel it could be quite efficient (if the pfizer levitra uk CO conversion approaches 100% efficient the overall efficiency would approach 62% in my limited understanding of the process). In contrast the absolute world record for solar->electric is under 50%.

It also depends on if the electricity is more useful than the hydrocarbon fuel. In the case of how to buy cialis cars, hydrocarbon fuel is a better energy transport due to generic viagra from india higher energy density than current electric storage. Obviously burning the hydrocarbon fuel in a heat engine (up to 60-80% efficiency) to generate electricity would be less efficient than current worlds best photovoltaic technology, but this might also be much cheaper to implement on a large scale. There are many ways why this may complement solar rather than compete with it and still change the world.

written by Rory, January 13, 2009
Ruthenium is no longer expensive, and spent catalysts can be recycled to recover the metals quite efficiently.

If properly managed, this has huge potential. More efficient than solar, and a catalyst is cheap to produce, if the 62% efficiency is buy levitra online from canadacheap levitra tablets achievable, how do we go about harvesting the CO2 to feed the process?
written by Mary, January 14, 2009
"If the catalyst will be stable you can say Good Bye to Global Worming, "

Did you mean Global Warming?
Capturing the Carbon
written by Logan Quinn, January 14, 2009
In one episode of the Discovery Project Earth show, they built a CO2 Scrubber to capture CO2 from the air. (

Of course, they just wanted to bury the CO2 instead of capturing the Carbon and producing carbon fibers as Jeff mentioned above (I really wish our scientists and inventors would really try to move away from this mindset of burying waste for future generations to deal with and adopt the mindset that everything is a resource and viagra in spain nothing is waste). I think these two technologies could work together very well. Especially if used as part of factories which manufacture carbon fiber based products.
written by Kit Kuhlman, January 14, 2009
What happens if we scrub too much CO2 out of the air? How would this effect us in the long run? Everything has a balance, and we're awesome at assuming we can tinker with it's equilibrium.
Many Sides to this story
written by Carol, January 15, 2009
A valid cautionary note has been sounded by Meh, but given the volume of CO2 in the atmosphere now, I think we could "scrub" with this method for at least a generation before any problems ensued. There would still be lots of work for plants to do to remove CO2 and release oxygen for everyone to breathe.
Clean Coal Coming Soon
written by Uncle B, February 19, 2009
Using the CO2 from burning coal to feed bio-diesel producing algae was cool, but this catalytic conversion looks like another method that works. We need all the help we can get, and soon.
CO2 into fuel
written by Carbon Bob, May 22, 2009
What a waste of time. The whole point is to avoid burning fuel period. CO2 should be seen as a resource much like plants use, and not something for recycling back into fuel. We're trying to lower the ppm, not find new ways to put it back in the atmosphere again.
written by D., March 25, 2010
I may be missing something, but the CO is carbon monoxide. Couldn't we be creating a bigger problem if something goes wrong?

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