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New system turns carbon dioxide emissions into fuel

Scientists have been working to combat atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions, which are set to continue to rise in 2017. Biofuels, electric cars, and renewable energy sources are becoming more and more mainstream, all in the hopes of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change.

Now, new research has discovered a way to convert carbon dioxide emissions into fuel for cars, trucks, and planes.

The system was developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers and could be used to turn carbon dioxide emissions from power plants into fuel while filtering out oxygen.

The fuel could work in all manner of vehicles and would also help stop the influx of carbon levels in the atmosphere. Turning carbon dioxide emissions into fuel and chemicals is part of a group of technologies called carbon capture, utilization, and storage.

The MIT team created a membrane-based system that is made of a compound of lanthanum, calcium, and iron oxide. The membrane filters out oxygen from carbon dioxide leaving behind carbon monoxide which can then be used a source of fuel.

The researchers created an energy efficient method of pulling the oxygen away by using hydrogen or methane which draws oxygen through the membrane. Once separate, the oxygen can’t recombine with the carbon monoxide.

The MIT team are confident that their system works and are continually monitoring oxygen flow rates across the membrane.  

The membrane is suited for any level of carbon dioxide, but the higher the concentration, the better.

The new system presents exciting alternatives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by essentially recycling CO2 and turning it into fuel.

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer

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