Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, along with colleagues at Northern Illinois University, have discovered a useful new catalyst. It literally converts water into alcohol - more precisely, into ethanol. All you need is electricity and carbon dioxide - carbon dioxide that pollutes the atmosphere.
The substance belongs to the category of electrocatalysts, it consists of atomically dispersed copper in carbon powder, and is activated in an electric field. If water and carbon dioxide are passed through the catalyst at the same time, their molecules will be destroyed. The liberated atoms of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen with a selective probability of 90% are collected in an ethanol molecule. According to scientists, such efficiency has never been achieved before.
Ethanol, which is obtained from the reaction, can be used as a fuel or an additive to it. Or use it as a common raw material in industry and chemical industry. If the emissions into the atmosphere directly captured by industrial filters are taken as carbon dioxide, and the energy to start the process is obtained from renewable sources, the only bottleneck in the reaction will be water. But it can be obtained, for example, by treating effluents, and then a conventional enterprise will be able to simultaneously provide itself with ethanol and not release anything into the environment.