New Approach to Converting CO2 to Chemicals and Fuel
Z French team of scientists working with Thibault Cantat at the Institut Rayonnement Matière de Saclay in Gif-sur-Yvette have developed a new method to convert carbon dioxide into useful building blocks for chemical synthesis and fuels. Rather than taking one of two previous approaches to synthesise either chemicals or fuels, the team has taken a hybrid approach capable of producing either chemicals or fuels in one dual step.
In the diagonal method, the carbon dioxide is both reduced and functionalized in one step. This allows the synthesis of a much greater number of chemicals, directly from CO2. This reaction requires three things:
a reducing agent (e.g. a silane);
an organic molecule to be attached to the carbon atom of the carbon dioxide (e.g. an amine); and
a special catalyst that catalyzes both the reduction and the functionalization.
The successful catalyst is a special organic base consisting of a nitrogen-containing ring system. Cantat says that varying the reaction partners should allow the manufacture of a whole series of chemical compounds that are normally obtained from petrochemical feedstocks, such as formamide derivatives, which are important intermediates for both chemical and pharmaceutical industries. _GCC
The problem with this approach is twofold: 1. CO2 is not abundantly available in pure and concentrated form 2. Cheap methane is apt to be available for hundreds of years, and will supply alternative pathways to chemicals and fuels inexpensively.
Widespread public misconceptions of fuel shortages and carbon hysteria have led people to assume that the facts of the carbon cycle are different than they really are. As long as we are living in this age of popular delusion -- fueled by politics, academia, and the media -- expect many more such ingenious solutions to non-existent problems.
But in the meantime, it is quite possible that the methods developed by the French team of scientists will find profitable niche applications.
Labels: carbon dioxide