The process of converting Carbon Dioxide into useful Ethanol is like converting pollution into renewable energy. Carbon Dioxide is a colorless and odorless gas essential to life on Earth. This is a chemical compound composed of a carbon atom and two oxygen atoms.
Ethanol, on the other hand, is the major type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts. This is commonly called as alcohol, drinking alcohol or ethyl alcohol.
According to Science World Report, the scientists from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory stumbled upon the reaction during an experiment. Incidentally, they found out that carbon dioxide is considered a pollutant when emitted by power plants, planes, cars and the burning of natural gas and gasoline, and ethanol has used a fuel.
"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," said Dr. Adam Rondinone, lead author of the study. "You can use ethanol in the current vehicle fleet, right now, with no modifications."
The material mentioned was an enzyme composed of copper nanoparticles embedded in spikes of carbon said Phys. The team agreed to adjust the electricity to 1.2 volts and found that is was enough to change CO2 dissolved in water, then into ethanol.
The process they did produces a complex chemical reaction that easily converted the oxidization process with an initial conversion rate of 60 to 70 percent.
The scientists were surprised at the result they got. They said that electrochemical reaction like this typically produces methane, ethylene, and carbon monoxide.
"We're taking carbon dioxide, a waste product of combustion, and we're pushing that combustion reaction backward with very high selectivity to a useful fuel," said Rondinone. "Ethanol was a surprise - it's extremely difficult to go straight from carbon dioxide to ethanol with a single catalyst."
As per reports, even if the result is just an accidental discovery, this can make a big change to climate change. Converting pollution into a renewable energy may help all of us, human, to live on Earth longer.