Nano-spike catalysts convert carbon dioxide directly into ethanol


My introduction to this topic started from a Facebook post. This led to a Popular Mechanics article. Finally, I ended up with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory press release Nano-spike catalysts convert carbon dioxide directly into ethanol.

A snapshot from the video shows the chemical reaction formula.

co2 to ethanlo chemical reaction

I don’t see why this would not be possible. Ethanol is just

C2H6O

and Ethane is just

C2H6

To understand the terminology that Oak Ridge National Labs uses, this Google search explanation helps.

Ethyl group (highlighted blue) as part of a molecule, as the ethyl radical, and in the compounds ethanol, bromoethane, ethyl acetate, and ethyl methyl ether. In chemistry, an ethyl group is an alkyl substituent derived from ethane (C2H6). It has the formula –CH2CH3 and is very often abbreviated Et.

So the only thing that needs to be introduced is Hydrogen. i don’t know what comes out other than ethanol. There may be some other compounds that are harmful, like CO, although I would doubt that one.

You do seem to need two Cs for every O instead of 2 the Os for every C that you started with, so there might be Oxygen given off in the process. If the hydrogen comes from the dissociation of water, then there would be even more excess oxygen. Excess oxygen cannot be bad, unless it ends up as ozone. I suppose that if we use this process too much, we could end up with a shortage of CO2 in the atmosphere.

In any case, this could have huge implications in the arrest of global climate change and in hydrocarbon based energy production.

I am no chemist, so I am just going by the chemistry I learned in high school and college, and what little I have run into at work.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.