Saturday, January 5, 2008

Scientists split CO2 into CO and hydrogen

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico have designed a a solar reactor to recycle carbon dioxide and produce fuels like methanol or gasoline.

The solar reactor contains 14 cobalt ferrite rings, each about one foot in diameter and turning at one revolution per minute. As an 88-square meter solar furnace blast sunlight into the unit, the rings heat up to about 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, cobalt ferrite releases oxygen. The rings subsequently cool to about 2,000 degrees and are exposed to CO2. The cobalt ferrite, which is now missing oxygen, will take oxygen from the CO2. So, the reactor divides carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide and oxygen, leaving behind just carbon monoxide. With the cobalt ferrite restored to its original state, the reactor is ready for another cycle.

That carbon monoxide can then be used to make methanol or gasoline, which are essentially just combinations of hydrogen and carbon.

Scientists Use Sunlight to Make Fuel From CO2

Sam Carana