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Bismuth as a catalyst for fuel synthesis

Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:30 am
by poikilotrm
And we have been shooting as ammo. :|

This Metal Can Convert Atmospheric CO2 Into Liquid Fuel

Scientists have found a way to use bismuth as a catalyst for the direct conversion of carbon dioxide.
By Glenn McDonald
Published On 06/01/2018
12:21 PM EDT ... iquid-fuel

What if we could reverse that the primary process that’s causing Earth’s climate to warm? Instead of pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, what if we could convert carbon dioxide into fuels and useful industrial chemicals?

That's the idea behind an ongoing research initiative at the University of Delaware that represents a kind of radical recycling approach to the carbon dioxide problem. The idea of reclaiming and repurposing carbon dioxide isn't new — plenty of scientific institutions are dedicated to this particular puzzle. But the new UD technique conscripts a new ally to the cause: bismuth.

Joel Rosenthal and his team in UD's department of chemistry and biochemistry have discovered a previously unknown property in bismuth that they say could be a legitimate tool in the fight against global warming. By way of a chemical process known as “catalytic plasticity,” bismuth can be used to directly convert atmospheric CO2 into liquid fuels and industrial chemicals.

It works like this: When an electrical current is shot through bismuth in a bath of salt, the resulting chemical reaction can be manipulated in real time to convert adjacent CO2 into usable fuels such as gasoline or chemicals, according to the new research. Because the chemical reaction can be “tuned” on the fly, the technique could power scaled-up systems that suck CO2 from the atmosphere and pump out valuable chemicals on the other end.

“We’re working to push the boundaries of this idea,” Rosenthal said in a statement accompanying publication of the research. “Our new findings are important from a technological standpoint — we think this platform will allow renewable energy sources such as solar and wind to drive the direct production of liquid fuels. But more importantly, we believe this concept of ‘catalytic plasticity’ signals a potential paradigm shift, a new way to think about renewable energy conversion, fuel production, and catalysis in general.”

Rosenthal and bismuth are old acquaintances. His team previously published research showing that the metal could be used with certain salts to convert carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide, which can be used as a fuel. The new research takes the concept to another level entirely, suggesting that bismuth and salts can convert CO2 directly into liquid fuels.

The findings are reported in the journal ACS Catalysis, published by the American Chemical Society. Rosenthal and his team have also filed a patent on the process. The work was supported by the US Department of Energy and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

While the bismuth technique is in the very early stages, Rosenthal believes the technology could eventually be combined with other renewable energy strategies to significantly reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

“This technology would allow us to make liquid fuels using renewable electricity from sunlight and wind,” he said. ”This, in turn, would decrease our need for conventional petroleum resources, resulting in fewer carbon dioxide emissions.”

We should probably get cracking. Carbon dioxide levels averaged 410 parts per million during the month of April. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, CO2 levels hadn't exceeded 300 ppm in the past 800,000 years, according to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which tracks atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.

Re: Bismuth as a catalyst for fuel synthesis

Posted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:11 pm
This isn't fusion or fission. Therefore, the total number of atoms before and after the process is identical. People/animals and car engines are nearly identical; we break high-energy hydro-carbon BONDS and make low-energy Hydrogen-Oxygen and Carbon-Oxygen bonds. The total number of Carbon atoms that goes into us also goes out. Interestingly, this is also how humans "burn" fat: we pull in Oxygen, we bind it to a Carbon, then we exhale it. You lose weight by literally breathing it out.

This is a bunch of nonsense meant to arrive at one simple conclusion: if these researchers think they're going to cheat the laws of thermodynamics, then they are sorely mistaken. If they want to create a high-energy hydrocarbon out of low-energy CO2 and water, then they have to pump AT LEAST the same amount of energy into that molecule as what is already in it. IE, they have to "burn" a molecule of C8H18 (octane) to get the energy necessary to make a molecule of C8H18.

The only perk of what they are doing is that they can convert solar into the energy necessary to do this. But if you think about it, this is EXACTLY what plants already do: they use the power of the sun to convert low-energy CO2 into high-energy carbon-changes very similar to octane. Then the plants 'exhale' O2 as a waste product.

A tree is nearly the exact opposite of a human or a car in this regard. And depriving trees of atmospheric CO2 is no different than depriving humans/animals/cars of atmospheric O2. Point in fact, this chemical-equation is currently in the middle of self-correcting as the earth is undergoing what scientist are referring to "the greening of the planet". That "excess" CO2 is a buffet for plants, and they are absolutely feasting right now.

This process... it isn't "something for nothing", and if they're hooked up to a traditional, coal-powered energy grid, then they're going to mathematically create more CO2 than they are going to consume. Therefore, what they're really doing is converting 100 watts of chemical energy in coal into less-than-100 watts of chemical energy in a different molecule, with the excess being vented into the atmosphere as CO2.

Re: Bismuth as a catalyst for fuel synthesis

Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:46 am
by poikilotrm
Catalysts lower the energy of reaction. So do enzymes.

Re: Bismuth as a catalyst for fuel synthesis

Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:52 am
by DKDravis
Catalysts lower the energy of reaction. So do enzymes.
Entropy always wins -- :mrgreen:

Re: Bismuth as a catalyst for fuel synthesis

Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:00 am
poikilotrm wrote:Catalysts lower the energy of reaction. So do enzymes.
You are experiencing a fundamental misunderstanding.

The above process costs more energy than it produces.

The end.

If that energy comes from a coal-powered electric plant, then the overall system will produce more CO2 than it will eliminate.

Re: Bismuth as a catalyst for fuel synthesis

Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:53 pm
by fishman
poikilotrm wrote:Catalysts lower the energy of reaction. So do enzymes.
They only lower the activation energy of a reaction, not the amount of energy that a reaction gives off or absorbs.

Energy + matter in = Energy + matter out. Period.