RESEARCH
June 1, 2009

Process promises fuel from water and CO2

Use electricity to turn water and carbon dioxide into hydrogen and carbon monoxide, and you open a route to making renewable liquid fuels.

The process uses a solid oxide electrolytic cell that's similar to a common type of fuel cell. At 800 degrees Celsius and 1.3 volts, the cell turns a mixture of water, hydrogen and carbon dioxide into a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The process produces seven cubic centimeters of hydrogen and carbon monoxide per minute for each square centimeter of electrode surface area.

The mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide is synthesis gas (syngas), which can be converted into liquid hydrocarbon fuels, including diesel.

The process produces no more carbon dioxide than it consumes.

Research paper:
Syngas Production By Coelectrolysis of CO2/H2O: The Basis for a Renewable Energy Cycle
Energy & Fuels, published online May 19, 2009

Researchers' contact:
Barnett Research Group

Related stories and briefs:
Fuel from air -- related research
Sunlit nanotubes turn water and CO2 into fuel -- related research


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