Sunday, May 31, 2009

Turning CO2 Into Methanol: Mitsui Plant Opens

Last summer, Brian Westenhaus reported on a Mitsui process for turning CO2 into methanol. Now a Mitsui Chemicals pilot plant for producing methanol from CO2 has begun operations.
Mitsui Chemicals (MCI) has begun operating its pilot plant for synthesizing methanol from CO2. (Earlier post.) The pilot plant will produce approximately 100 tonnes of methanol per year as a base material for plastics from the CO2 released during ethylene production at the Osaka Works petrochemical complex.....

The process relies on hydrogen obtained from water photolysis and ultra-high activity electrocatalysts consisting of zinc oxide and copper. _GCC
In truth, we do not have enough CO2 to do all the things we could be doing with it. Plants need it to grow and fruit. Single cell algae and other microbes thrive on CO2. But there is very little of it in the atmosphere -- it is only a trace gas constituting less than 0.4 % of all atmospheric gases. Mitsui chemists are tapping into industrial processes that produce CO2 as a waste product.

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