January 30, 2009
Sunlit nanotubes turn water and CO2 into fuel
Coat titanium oxide nanotubes with nanoscale
bits of copper and platinum and you can make hydrocarbon fuels from
carbon dioxide, water and sunlight.
The coated nanotubes use the energy from sunlight to catalyze
reactions of carbon dioxide and water that produce hydrocarbons, including
methane. The process yielded 160 microliters of hydrocarbons per gallon
per hour in outdoor sunlight.
Though the amount of hydrocarbons is small – 160 microliters
is about three drops -- it's 20 times higher than previous efforts,
which used ultraviolet light indoors, according to the researchers.
The technique could lead to environmentally benign methods
of producing liquid fuels for fuel cells and vehicles.
Solar Photocatalytic Conversion of CO2 and Water Vapor to Hydrocarbon
Nano Letters, published online January 27, 2009
& A: Penn State's Craig Grimes
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