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Saturday, February 11, 2017

News Factoid Report: O.R.N.L. Team Converts CO2 to Ethanol

This story seems to have fallen through the cracks and has not been reported except by scientific media.

Back in October 2016, a team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory accidentally discovered a nano-process that combines CO2 dissolved in water (club soda?) and a carbon-copper catalyst to produce the fuel ethanol. They were attempting to invoke the first stage of production of methanol, but the process completed itself and produced the ethanol, at an efficiency rate of 60-70%. N.A.S.L. set up a webpage article and uploaded a nice two-minute video short to YouTube, which you can view here.

Fact-checker website Snopes confirms the event, but warns that it is much too early to proclaim any commercial fuel conversion process. The O.R.N.L. team suggests that commercial licensing can not possibly begin for a year at best, and that the O.R.N.L. team will next work on the problem of scalability - the difference between producing a few drops in a laboratory versus gallons per hour.

O.R.N.L. set up a second webpage article in January that emphasizes the work needing to be done. The scientist team also suggests that the probable first use of their discovery will be to remove carbon dioxide from power plant emissions and also to utilize any excess electricity made during the day from wind and solar (that otherwise is lost for lack of storage methodology).

Early stages, yes, but a breakthrough is a breakthrough: Congratulation to American scientists!

Copyright 2017 by G.E. Nordell, all rights reserved

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