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Carbon dioxide recycled to create usable fuel

Taking a cue from the mechanism that trees use to convert carbon dioxide into sugars, researchers have found a similar way to turn the gas produced by the burning of fossil fuels in power plants and car engines into a usable energy source using sunlight.

As scientists and policymakers around the world try to combat the increasing rate of climate change, they have focused on the chief culprit — carbon dioxide.

‘Different product’

“In photosynthesis, trees need energy from light, water and carbon dioxide in order to make their fuel; in our experiment, the ingredients are the same, but the product is different,” said one of the study authors Larry Curtiss from U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory.

While plants use their catalysts to make sugar, the researchers used theirs to convert carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide.

Although carbon monoxide is also a greenhouse gas, it is much more reactive than carbon dioxide and scientists already have ways of converting carbon monoxide into usable fuel, such as methanol. — IANS

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