Scientists make cheap and clean fuel from air

Scientists from Cardiff University, UK have discovered a new way to produce methanol from methane using oxygen from the air. Methanol is an important chemical often used as fuel in vehicles

The discovery has major implications for cleaner, greener industrial processes worldwide. The new technique uses freely available air, inexpensive chemicals and an energy efficient methanol production process.

Key Facts

Methanol is currently produced by in expensive and energy-intensive processes known as steam reforming and methanol syntheses. In these processes, methanol is produced by breaking down natural gas at high temperatures into hydrogen gas (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO) before reassembling them

In the new method, scientists produced methanol from methane through simple catalysis i.e. by addition of substance called catalyst which speeds up a chemical reaction. It enables methanol production at low temperatures using oxygen and hydrogen peroxide.

The new process can help to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and its commercialisation may take much longer. It seeks to use waste gas flared into the atmosphere during natural gas production, thus saving carbon dioxide emissions.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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