What if you could expose the world's foremost greenhouse gas to sunlight and convert it to gasoline? That would be, in most healthy opinions, too good to be true right? Well, some hard thinkers at the University of California San Diego are working on exactly that.
A kind of solar panel basically splits CO2 into CO (carbon monoxide) and oxygen. The carbon monoxide, as long as it is contained, can then be converted to bio-fuel by CO eating bacteria, or turned into any number of useful products. The best part is that CO is normally produced for industrial use by natural gas. So, the process could either save gas by creating new gas, or saves natural gas by reducing the need for it.
As of now, the UC San Diego scientists haven't yet optimized the procedure and, currently, the panel needs more energy than can be provided by sunlight alone. But they're confident that, by using other materials in the panel, they'll be able to boost efficiency. We'll have to keep an eye on their progress.
written by Tibor Kiss, April 30, 2007
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