Thursday , January 28 2021
Breaking News
Home / Energy / US researchers accidentally discover an ethanol battery
Image: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

US researchers accidentally discover an ethanol battery

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have accidentally discovered a potentially profitable means of converting carbon dioxide into ethanol.  The team used a catalyst made of carbon, copper and nitrogen and applied voltage to trigger a complicated chemical reaction that essentially reverses the combustion process.  According to lead author Adam Rondinon:

“We’re taking carbon dioxide, a waste product of combustion, and we’re pushing that combustion reaction backwards with very high selectivity to a useful fuel.  Ethanol was a surprise – it’s extremely difficult to go straight from carbon dioxide to ethanol with a single catalyst.

“We discovered somewhat by accident that this material worked.  We were trying to study the first step of a proposed reaction when we realized that the catalyst was doing the entire reaction on its own.”

Because the process uses low-cost materials and works at room temperature, the researchers believe that it could be scaled up to an industrial scale and used as a means of storing energy generated from renewable sources.  Ethanol could be produced using excess renewable energy and then used to fuel generators in periods of insufficient energy.

Check Also

Britain has more than enough hot air

Critics of the UK government were quick to point out that the promised £160m to …