NewsResearchers convert CO₂ into fuel with sunlight - for...

Researchers convert CO₂ into fuel with sunlight – for cheap energy

Created: 09/27/2022, 4:14 p.m

Can greenhouse gases such as CO₂ be turned into fuel in the future that we use to heat or generate electricity? According to researchers from China, that would be possible.

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz traveled to the Arabian Peninsula to do something about the gas shortage that is currently causing gas prices in Germany to skyrocket. During the trip, the RWE group signed a contract to import 137,000 cubic meters of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which should help Germany on its way out of dependence on Russian gas.

The liquefied natural gas LNG currently seems to be widely traded as a more environmentally friendly alternative to conventional gas. Some owners of biogas plants even want to turn their biogas into bio-LNG. Whether LNG, which mainly consists of methane, is also more climate-friendly depends heavily on how it is produced, according to the NDR . Scientists from China have now developed a new way to produce methane – from CO₂ using sunlight.

By the way: On his trip to the Gulf region, Olaf Scholz had to listen to amused comments about planting a tree.

Fuel from CO₂: Chinese research team builds photocatalyst from gold

In the journal Angewandte Chemie , the Chinese research team headed by Hefeng Cheng from Shandong University in Jinan presented a photocatalyst based on isolated gold atoms that can be used to convert CO₂ into methane fuel with the help of sunlight. This discovery is so special because it could be a step towards climate neutrality and thus towards mitigating the greenhouse effect and the energy crisis. And that is urgently needed, because people would have to do without their cars completely to achieve the 1.5-degree target, for example.

What is special about this catalyst are the individual gold atoms. With conventional preparation methods, gold atoms always aggregated, so the team developed a new strategy. Because of their special electronic structures, single-atom catalysts behave differently than conventional metal nanoparticles. In this catalyst, individual gold atoms are anchored on an ultra-thin zinc indium sulfide nanolayer and react with the CO₂ to form carbon monoxide (CO), methanol (CH3OH), methane (CH4) and other hydrocarbons.

Tagebau Garzweiler mit den Kraftwerken Frimmersdorf, Neurath und Niederaußem dahinter, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Deutschland, Europa.
Fuels such as coal are still mined in large power plants. This creates CO₂. Researchers have now managed to use it to produce the fuel methane. (symbol image) © imagebroker/IMAGO

What are fuels?

The German Geothermal Association defines a fuel as a chemical substance whose stored energy can be converted into usable energy through combustion. There are solid, liquid and gaseous fuels that can be natural, refined or synthetic depending on how they are made. Fuels of an organic nature are petroleum, natural gas or coal – of an inorganic nature are hydrogen, methane or carbon monoxide.

A distinction is also made between fossil fuels (coal, gas) and fuels from renewable raw materials (such as wood, biofuels, biogas). Nuclear fuels, on the other hand (e.g. plutonium) are not classified as fossil fuels. They release energy in nuclear power plants through nuclear fission, which has a better CO₂ balance than coal-fired power plants. That’s why Arnold Schwarzenegger hit the Germans in the face about the nuclear phase-out.

Schedules of the Valencia GP of MotoGP in Cheste and how to see it

The Cheste circuit hosts this weekend, from November 4 to 6, the 2022 MotoGP Comunitat Valenciana GP. See the schedules and all the information.

"Don't talk to me!": Danni Büchner makes a clear announcement to hated party guests

Danni Büchner is invited to Sam Dylan's Halloween party. But the "Goodbye Germany" emigrant has no desire for many other party guests. And find clear words.

King Charles III Portrait now on the first coin: Serious change to the Queen

Charles III first coins with his portrait are there. Coin lovers immediately discover two striking differences.

Unknown colourfulness

Bird Species Discovered on Islands in Indonesia

Braking was tricky

Apart from that, everything worked like a picture book for the railway world record in Switzerland