Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Turning carbon diode into methane, a combustible fuel that can be burned instead of gasoline and natural gas, can be accomplished with a new invention that harnesses the energy of the sun, according to researchers at Penn State University. By using arrays of nitrogen-doped titania nanotubes, sputter-coated with an ultrathin layer of a metallic catalysts, the ultraviolet wavelengths from the sun converts carbon dioxide into methane.
BOTTOM LINE: If this invention works as described, it could replace fossil fuels with a technology that actually reduced green house gases instead of producing them. So far the laboratory demonstration does not have the capacity to replace gasoline or natural gas, but the researchers claim that engineering optimizations could remedy that shortcoming. The best part is that energy from the sun powers the technique. Look for commercial versions for portable applications within five years.
Posted by R. Colin Johnson at 5:58 PM