A Practical CO2 – to – Methanol Scheme?

ScienceDaily reports that researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore have discovered a “simple” way to convert CO2 to useful C1 chemicals, like methanol. Methanol, one of the world’s largest volume industrial chemicals, is a convenient starting point for many petroleum derived chemicals and plastics, and a useful fuel component in its own right.

The the CO2 to methanol reaction, which uses a N-heterocyclic carbene catalyst and a hydro-silane reducing agent, yields a process “… by which CO2 can be efficiently converted into methanol under very mild conditions…” according to the researchers.

If – and that’s a huge word in this context – if this new science can be engineered to a practical, economic scale, then we may have a powerful new tool (complementing and perhaps displacing absorption-sequestration schemes) to begin making headway toward controlling CO2 greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: “Carbon Dioxide Snatched From The Air”, ScienceDaily. Wiley-Blackwell (2009, April 21).

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