Thursday, 28 July 2016
Recent breakthroughs in semiconductor physics have produced the possibility of using solar energy (photovoltaic generation) to capture CO2 (carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere, but, most importantly, to do so where it is being produced by industrial use of carbon based fuels which currently contribute to climate change pollution.
Using DC electricity to electrolyse water into Hydrogen and Oxygen is simple, but the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is so low, compared to Oxygen and Nitrogen, that immediately converting the hydrogen to hydrocarbons is either difficult, expensive/energy wasting (blowing a vast amount of atmosphere into the process), or both.
The new science proposes performing the capture of CO2 where it is most abundant, and consequently doing most harm to the atmosphere.
This new method uses a combination of physics and biology to produce formic acid, which is much safer to handle than hydrogen because it is a liquid and less flammable.
The best description I can find: