Scientists at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea have developed a new way to turn carbon dioxide into diesel fuel for existing vehicles. The breakthrough finding may revolutionize the automobile industry and bring us a step closer to eliminating greenhouse gas. The benefits are two-fold as the process removes harmful CO2 from the atmosphere and the diesel can be used as an alternative fuel to gasoline. The new way produces high-quality green disel from carbon dioxide in a single step. Researchers showed direct CO2 conversion to liquid transportation fuels by reacting with renewable hydrogen (H2) generated by solar water splitting. The currently existing catalysts, used for the reactions of H2 with CO2 are limited mostly to low molecular weight substances, such as methane or methanol. Besides, due to the low value of these catalysts, the reduction effects of CO2 is generally low. However, the new delafossite-based catalyst converts CO2 into liquid hydrocarbon-based fuels in one single step. These fuel samples can be used by existing diesel vehicles, like trucks and buses. Researchers believe the new catalyst breaks through the limitation of CO2 based Fisher-Tropsch (FT) synthesis and will open the avenue for new opportunity for recycling CO2 into valuable fuels and chemicals.
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