Search for new sources of renewable energy

With this renewable energy source, the effects caused by the phenomenon of global warming could be limited, and more than that, there could also be more oxygen in the atmosphere, since it's released as a result of the chemical reaction taking place during the combustion process.

The method used by American scientists consisted of the conversion of carbon dioxide and water into liquid hydrocarbon and oxygen, at a temperature between 180 and 200 degrees Celsius and a pressure of up to 6 atmospheres.

“We are the first to use both light and heat to synthesize liquid hydrocarbons in a single stage reactor from carbon dioxide and water," as stated by Professor Brian Dennis, a member of the research team.

The catalyst used in the experiment was titanium dioxide, whose powder does not have the ability to fully absorb visible light. “Our next step is to develop a photo-catalyst better matched to the solar spectrum. Then we could more effectively use the entire spectrum of incident light to work towards the overall goal of a sustainable solar liquid fuel” added Frederick MacDonnell, another member of the team.

To get the best results, scientists used two parabolic mirrors in their experiment so that they could engage as much sunlight as possible on the titanium dioxide powder. It has been found that the process not only generates a certain amount of fuel, but also results in excess power, which can be later used for various purposes.

At that moment American scientists were striving to develop new types of photo catalysts.

The ultimate goal is to create a system able to use solar energy in order to decompose water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. What the research team is actually interested in is the hydrogen that would result from the process, since the objective is to use hydrogen as a fuel.

Other experiments led by MacDonell and Denis revolve around the conversion of natural gas into diesel and jet fuel. The so-called “gas-to-liquid technology” was developed while working alongside an industrial partner in UTA’s Center for Renewable Energy and Science Technology, and they plan to capitalize on the findings.

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