|Princeton Recycles CO2 with US Government Support|
|Sunday - March 20, 2011|
We've earlier made reference to the Carbon conversion expertise being established at Princeton University, especially through the work there of scientists Andrew Bocarsly and Emily Barton Cole.
We have also, we believe, documented that Bocarsly's and Cole's research has been sponsored, at least in part, by components of the United States Government.
Herein, we see that, less than one year ago, their work resulted in application for a United States Patent on the technology they have developed, which enables the conversion of Carbon Dioxide, reclaimed from whatever source, into a variety of products, including, as they specify, the alcohols Methanol and Ethanol.
Comment follows excerpts from the link to:
US Patent Application 20100187123A1 - Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Organic Products
Publication Date: July 29, 2010
Inventors: Andrew B. Bocarsly and Emily Barton Cole, NJ
Government Interests: This invention was made with United States government support from Natural Science Foundation Grant No. CHE-0606475. The United States Government has certain rights in this invention.
The invention relates to various embodiments of an environmentally beneficial method for reducing carbon dioxide. The methods in accordance with the invention include electrochemically or photoelectrochemically reducing the carbon dioxide in a divided electrochemical cell that includes an anode, e.g., an inert metal counterelectrode, in one cell compartment and a metal or p-type semiconductor cathode electrode in another cell compartment that also contains an aqueous solution of an electrolyte and a catalyst of one or more substituted or unsubstituted aromatic amines to produce therein a reduced organic product.
Claims: A method of converting of carbon dioxide to provide at least one product, comprising reducing the carbon dioxide in a divided electrochemical cell ... .
(And) wherein the reducing is electrochemical or photoelectrochemical.
(And) wherein the reducing is photoelectrochemical and the cathode is a ... semiconductor responsive to illumination.
(And) wherein energy is provided to the cell by illuminating the cathode with light energy.
A system for ... reduction of carbon dioxide to produce at least one product (and) where the at least one product is methanol, isopropanol, formic acid, formaldehyde, glyoxal or ethanol.
Description and Introduction: Various options for carbon dioxide reduction have been proposed.
In addition to energy conservation, carbon capture and storage, the process of separating CO2 from emission sources and transporting it to a storage location for long-term (indefinite) isolation, and carbon sequestration, the process of permanently storing CO2 underground, have garnered the most attention to date.
However, these technologies face significant challenges and are presently far from being cost effective.
In addition, sequestration has raised serious environmental concern, legal and regulatory issues due to the unknown ramifications of permanently storing CO2 underground.
To lower global carbon dioxide levels and reduce new carbon dioxide emissions, it remains critical to develop economically feasible processes to remove vast quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or gas streams.
In accordance with embodiments of the invention, an electrocatalytic system is provided that allows carbon dioxide to be converted at very modest overpotentials to highly reduced species in aqueous solution. In other words, (the reactions take place) in aqueous solution under very mild condition utilizing a minimum of energy.
In some embodiments, the required energy input may be generated from an alternative energy source or directly using visible light depending on how the system is implemented.
So, when it comes to Carbon Dioxide, instead of mandating things like Geologic Sequestration, which "face significant challenges and are presently far from being cost effective", and which have "raised serious environmental concern, legal and regulatory issues due to the unknown ramifications of permanently storing CO2 underground", we can, instead, by "utilizing a minimum of energy", effect the chemical "reduction of carbon dioxide to produce at least ... methanol ... or ethanol".
Methanol and Ethanol, as you should, from our posts, by now know, can, if wanted, be converted through multiple known processes into the components of Gasoline.
We must note, by the way, that other products, aside from such valuable fuel alcohols, which we can, as herein, make from Carbon Dioxide, include "formic acid" and "formaldehyde".
Formic Acid, as we've previously documented via earlier reports, can be utilized in "fuel cell"-type batteries, or, as seen in:
United Technologies Converts CO2 to Formic Acid | Research & Development | News; which includes information concerning:"The Electrochemical Conversion of Carbon Dioxide into Methanol: The Formic Acid Reduction Step; 1984; Research Department, Naval Weapons Research Center, China Lake, CA";
it can be made to serve in at least one process for converting more Carbon Dioxide into more Methanol.
And, as we've otherwise reported, formic acid, often designated formulaically as "HCOOH", can also be made to serve to good effect in some processes of Coal liquefaction, as documented separately by:
ScienceDirect - Fuel : Extraction of Taiheiyo coal with supercritical water–HCOOH mixture; December,1999; T. Adschiri, et. al.,
Department of Chemical Engineering, Tohoku University, Japan; Abstract Taiheiyo coals were extracted with supercritical toluene ..., supercritical water (SCW) ... and formic acid (HCOOH) mixed solvents using a semi-batch type system. The results clearly indicate that the coal conversion ... and the liquid yield in HCOOH–SCW were higher than those in SCW and SC-toluene. A considerable portion of coal is thus converted into light oils probably through hydrolysis and hydrogenation in HCOOH–SCW."
In other words, a high percentage, a "considerable portion of coal" can be converted into light oils through reactions with Formic Acid, i.e., HCOOH, one product of Princeton University's Carbon Dioxide recycling process, as it is dissolved in high-temperature and high-pressure, "supercritical water".
Formaldehyde, perhaps interestingly, can be consumed in the synthesis of various resins, as seen in:
"Urea formaldehyde thermosets are strong, glossy, and durable. They are not affected by fats, oils esters, ether, petrol, alcohol or acetone, nor by detergents or weak acids, and they exhibit good resistance to weak alkalis. Their high mechanical strength, heat and fire resistance, and good electrical arc and tracking resistance make them an ideal plastic for numerous industrial and household applications, from doorknoobs and toilet seats to electrical components and cosmetics enclosures.
Melamine formaldehyde thermoset plastics are similar to urea molding compounds, but melamine has even better resistance to heat, chemicals, moisture, electricity and scratching.UFs and MF plastics that have high surface hardness and gloss, brilliant and precise colors, and light fastness (and) are ideal for dinnerware, kitchen utensils, bathroom accessories, and electrical components. Some uses include electrical breakers, receptacles, closures, knobs and handles, appliance components, adhesives, coatings and laminates."
And, finally, since one useful plastic which can, as noted immediately above, be made from the CO2-based formaldehyde, as co-produced in Princeton's CO2-recyling process, is Urea Formaldehyde, we can, again perhaps interestingly, manufacture the Urea needed to react with that CO2-based formaldehyde, from CO2; as documented in:
Urea - New World Encyclopedia; wherein we discover that:
"Urea is produced commercially from two raw materials: ammonia and carbon dioxide."