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Using Sunlight To Remake Gasoline


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Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico have found a way of using sunlight to recycle carbon dioxide and produce fuels like methanol or gasoline.


The Sunlight to Petrol, or S2P, project essentially reverses the combustion process, recovering the building blocks of hydrocarbons. They can then be used to synthesize liquid fuels like methanol or gasoline. Researchers said the technology already works and could help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, although large-scale implementation could be a decade or more away.


"This is about closing the cycle," said Ellen Stechel, manager of Sandia's Fuels and Energy Transitions department. "Right now our fossil fuels are emitting CO2. This would help us manage and reduce our emissions and put us on the path to a carbon-neutral energy system."


The idea of recycling carbon dioxide is not new, but has generally been considered too difficult and expensive to be worth the effort. But with oil prices exceeding $100 per barrel and concerns about global warming mounting, researchers are increasingly motivated to investigate carbon recycling. Los Alamos Renewable Energy, for example, has developed a method of using CO2 to generate electricity and fuel.


Official article here: http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/01/S2P




I find it to be an interesting idea and would definitely help weening ourselves off foreign oil. However, I doubt it should become anything more than step towards alternative fuel sources.


What do you guys think?

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This is really cool...however, once we've been recycling CO2 for a hundred years all the plants will start dying and the earth will be too oxygen rich... :P


Just saying that it's a vicious circle...


But for the time-being, awesome idea!

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In all likelihood it wouldn't be The Solution™ to the global warming problem... but it would be another step in the right direction for sure. Let alone that it would have many benefits for our still-oil-addicted civilization too. ;)

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