Friday, May 29, 2009

Researchers investigate co-electrolysis of water and CO2 to develop carbon-neutral energy cycle

BLUEFUELENERGY.COM: Blue Fuel Energy has been working to develop methods to produce Blue Fuel/DME in a carbon-neutral manner through the electrolysis of H2O and the use of captured CO2.

Researchers at Northwestern University are thinking along similar lines. They are experimenting with the co-electrolysis of H2O and CO2 to develop a carbon-neutral energy cycle as described recently in the online journal Energy & Fuels.

They propose to use renewable electricity to power a solid oxide electrolysis cell to produce syngas. The syngas will then undergo catalytic conversion to a liquid fuel such as methanol which will be used in a direct fuel cell. The byproducts of the fuel cell, H2O and CO2, would then be recycled back into the co-electrolysis process.

As reported by the Green Car Congress:

“Most of the major steps of the proposed liquid fuel cycle—catalytic fuel production from syngas; storage and transport of the fuel; and operation of fuel cells on methanol or liquid hydrocarbons are either already in widespread use or have been demonstrated. The only step not yet extensively investigated is the electrolytic production of syngas, the primary topic of the paper.”

Blue Fuel Energy is also working with the challenge of producing syngas through electrolysis so we will be following the work of these researchers with interest as we all seek ways to bring a carbon-neutral energy cycle to fruition.

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