April 16, 2009

Scientists Convert Carbon Dioxide To Cleaner Burning Methanol

Singapore scientists announced they have discovered a way to convert carbon dioxide into clean-burning methanol through a procedure that takes less energy than earlier efforts.

The Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology scientists made known Thursday they took non-toxic organocatalysts to formulate ethanol, a biofuel used as industrial feedstock.

Released in a statement, the institute said the team, headed by Yugen Zhang, utilized N-heterocyclic carbenes, or NHCs, an organocatalyst in the chemical response with carbon dioxide.

NHCs are secure and the reaction amid NHCs and carbon dioxide can only occur in calm conditions in dry air, nothing that only a small percentage of the catalyst was required.

The procedure also utilized hydrosilane, a mixture of silica and hydrogen.

"Hydrosilane provides hydrogen, which bonds with carbon dioxide in a reduction reaction. This carbon dioxide reduction is efficiently catalyzed by NHCs even at room temperature," Zhang wrote in the statement.

"Methanol can be easily obtained from the product of the carbon dioxide reaction."

Earlier efforts to convert CO2 into more practical products have taken a lot of energy input and a lengthier reaction time, the team stated.


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