WIONTennessee, United StatesOct 23, 2016, 02.36 AM (IST)
Scientists at the Oak Bridge National Laboratory in the US state of Tennessee have accidentally discovered a highly efficient and practical way to convert greenhouse gas carbon dioxide to the ethanol.
The electrochemical process uses a catalyst made of copper, carbon and nitrogen in varying proportions to turn CO2 into fuel.
Ethanol is one of the most widely-used biofuel in the world. It is most often used as motor fuel.
Scientists, in what they termed as a “serendipitous” discovery, found that copper and carbon, combined on a silicon surface and triggered with electrical currents, produced high yields of ethanol fuel.
The discovery will help do away with the use of the precious metal platinum as a catalyst to fuel the electrochemical process of conversion.
"This work is building the foundation for a chemical industry that runs on electricity and CO2, which can help us build a zero-carbon economy. Improving yield and efficiency and developing catalysts that do not require rare elements is critical to scaling these processes up cost effectively," said Dr Jeremy Martin told Al Jazeera.
The discovery is likely to make way for ethanol being used as a mainstream fuel that will eventually help reduce pollution caused by greenhouse gas emissions.