Accidental Discovery : From Carbondioxide to Ethanol

We are used to different accidental discoveries that have changed the world in many ways. The terms for such accidental yet fortune happening is knows as Serendipty. Newton’s famous gravity law inspired from falling apple, Pasteur’s Chirality, Chicken Cholera Vaccine, Nobel’s blasting gelatin and prominently Viagra are few examples which have tremendously changed human civilization. And for optimist -budding environmentalist like me, it was just merely a dream before someone found this miraculous discoveries on controlling atmospheric Carbondioxide.

According to news published at Sciencealert and, Scientist have accidently discovered method that could turn carbon-dioxide into ethanol, a finding that could play a significant role in combating climate change.Like Science Alert pointed out, if this can be scaled up into industrial level, it will literally change the world.

The finding comes from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) where a catalyst was created out of carbon, copper and nitrogen. Scientists added the catalyst and voltage to carbon dioxide to create ethanol. The discovery which pushed combustion reaction backward as stated by ORNL researcher and study’s lead author Adam Rondinone.

“By using common materials, but arranging them with nanotechnology, we figured out how to limit the side reactions and end up with the one thing that we want,” said Rondinone in a press release.

In a very interesting note when the scientist were expecting to get methanol or least significant methane, ethane or carbonmonoxide, they discovered rather highly useful products aka Ethanol which have enormous demand worldwide with US alone requiring it in billions amount. What’s more, the process is 63 per cent efficient and with modest conspumption of electricity, its reversing combustion process.

According to them, ethanol which are produced from carbondioxide can be used  as a low-cost battery by Energy companies to store electricity produced from solar or wind power plants. This permit to consume extra electricity  whenever available and storing it as ethanol.

With many research being done to reverse carbondioxide process, such optimistic discoveries from ORNL had shed some light of hope among climate change control enthusiast. If all goes well, greatest human threat could now be turned into opportunity.


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