This Could Be Important, A Means To Readily Convert CO2 To Ethanol Electrically

“we report a common element, nanostructured catalyst for the direct electrochemical conversion of CO2 to ethanol with high Faradaic efficiency (63 % at −1.2 V vs RHE) and high selectivity (84 %) that operates in water and at ambient temperature and pressure. Lacking noble metals or other rare or expensive materials, the catalyst is comprised of Cu nanoparticles on a highly textured, N-doped carbon nanospike film.”
 
See High-Selectivity Electrochemical Conversion of CO2 to Ethanol using a Copper Nanoparticle/N-Doped Graphene Electrode
Wow! Now that prices for photo-voltaic panels have dropped, the biggest issue with solar power is having a means of storing energy for the nights and cloudy days. Liquid fuel is a great compact solution for storing energy that could work with fuel-cells or diesel generators to produce electricity. Ethanol has been produced by fermentation of agricultural products but that’s a very long and inefficient process compared to dissolving CO2 in water and electrolyzing it. I hope this develops into useful products ASAP. It seems very promising.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.

This entry was posted in technology, weather and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to This Could Be Important, A Means To Readily Convert CO2 To Ethanol Electrically

  1. oiaohm says:

    The problem on the west coast is not really about pollution but the environment. They can get periods of low winds and a temperature inversion traps exhaust gases in pockets right over a city between the sea and the mountains.

    Kind of true. China fixed Hollywood like problems in many of it cities by either placing or destroying building to create air flows. So not fixing the pollution instead making sure the pollution leaves the city to airspace were its not going to cause as big of a problem. Winnipeg has also attempted to prevent cloud from happening again by city planning. So Vancouver maybe in need of some careful city planning.

    Of course China is no where close to fixing everything yet.

    NOx from farming is a problem.
    http://news.berkeley.edu/2012/04/02/fertilizer-use-responsible-for-increase-in-nitrous-oxide-in-atmosphere/
    Key reason issue with NOx is Acid rain.
    https://www.epa.gov/acidrain/what-acid-rain
    So small amount of NOx is a fertiliser for plants too much is exterminate plants and start eating building/other structures away.

    Too concentrated NOx can happen due to farming with bad fertilisers on scale or places like city burning fuel in too confined airspace and then you get acid rain. So NOx is something we need to regulate farm/city or we will suffer from natures revenge of acid rain or low crop yields for being careless. Yes its double sided control NOx too much crop yields drop don’t control it enough lose the crops to acid rain and suffer health conditions.

    A single regulation to apply to all use-cases is not optimal in many cases.
    Over NOx single regulation is hard and it possible to be optimal. Single regulation is very simple to write for NOx nothing should be done to push NOx into acid rain rates and it need to stay above a particular point for plant growth. The thing to remember the idea of putting gardens on top of building may in fact be making NOx problem worse in cities if they are not regulated.

    The problem is not working out what we need to do. It working out effective and exact ways to enforce regulations without having uninformed complaining too much.

    Yes the NOx harmless on farms is one of those big myths. Farms bigger airspace so harder to stuff NOx up to fatal levels. Since some cities are built in natural air trap areas the sometimes the NOx cloud above the city is not from the cars but from the near by farms. Regulation enforcement of NOx levels is a pure pain due to the complexities involved. Yes I know that electric cars sound like the solution but that could in some cases do absolutely nothing because the lower air flow in the city is taking all the car NOx to areas where it not a problem but the rain coming down on people is NOx acid rain causing problems and is not even from the city where it dropping but from farm land or a city like a few hundred km away. So this is something that fairly much has to be regulated country wide preferable world wide(as if we could get an agreement like that). The distances NOx travels before coming down as rain can be massive. So NOx from china can be dropping in Canada or the USA.

    This is what is stupid we are still attempting to deal with airborne pollution on a per country base when the reality is airborne pollution does not give a rats about countries boarders and goes where ever the wind currents take it.

    The science behind NOx caused issues is very solid and we know a lot more about what is correct and incorrect levels of NOx. Compare to CO2 and other gasses.

    Efficiency is a big thing. Poor efficiency does not make it easy to manage a lot of pollution levels.

  2. dougman wrote, “hey, you have a relative and can, you know *wink-wink* get some free stickers.”

    Those stickers are only relevant to stuff bought/sold retail by/to consumers. Industrial equipment like PV panels doesn’t require them if the system is tested in place to CSA standards. It’s not like wood stoves and the like where testing is done in normal operation. These tests can simply be done in the field by a certified technician.

    see SPE-1000 certification

    “Includes new requirements for the field evaluation of energy usage metering devices, high-voltage equipment, photovoltaic modules, wind turbines, inverters, and industrial control equipment”.

  3. oiaohm wrote, “Hollywood in the USA has smog levels exceeding many cities in China.”

    The problem on the west coast is not really about pollution but the environment. They can get periods of low winds and a temperature inversion traps exhaust gases in pockets right over a city between the sea and the mountains. I was in Vancouver years ago and saw a brown sunrise. Ugh! Winnipeg had a similar event about 20 years ago and there was a grey cloud over the city on a perfectly sunny day but it was nothing like smog in concentration. We could only see it because it was a blight on the horizon from our rural home.

    China has had rampant development with industry, coal/oil consumption concentrated in cities. It’s not that much of a problem except for efficiency they’ve allowed too much concentration. A bit of planning would have prevented the problem and may well eliminate the problem sooner or later.

    I was just thinking about my diesel engine vis a vis the VW diesels. The pollution standards that are relevant seem about NOx. In rural areas, NOx is just fertilizer as a byproduct… In cities it’s just too concentrated. The governmental regulations should encompass that and have ratings for urban/rural. A complexity is commuting via automobile. That should be discouraged or handled with electric vehicles. Just saying. A single regulation to apply to all use-cases is not optimal in many cases.

  4. oiaohm says:

    dougman Hollywood in the USA has smog levels exceeding many cities in China.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-17/joe-hockey-550-electricity-prices-carbon-tax-fact-check/6668552
    Yes removing carbon tax there was meant to be a price reduction right never happened.

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/one-year-on-from-the-carbon-price-australias-emissions-rebound-is-clear-65643

    The reality about a carbon tax by Australian numbers is that it only effective in emission control for about 12 months then everyone goes back to their prior lazy ways.

    I would suggest you start reading into the different studies on what happened when carbon tax has been introduced and carbon tax removed in different countries. Not the guess me papers.

    The real data says 1 year out of ten does a carbon tax do any good. Lot of the cost of a carbon tax would come about same if you put in a mandated efficiency level as well. Yes countries have put in a mandated efficiency level. Most of the cost rise of a carbon tax is not the carbon tax but companies doing infrastructure repairs and improvements that should have been done anyhow to keep pollution under control.

    Of course if you already have mandated efficiency level than apply a carbon tax then the carbon tax hurt. Now if your systems like Australia, USA, Canada and most place to induce carbon tax does not have mandated efficiency level the result of a carbon tax effects fairly neutral. Why because 20 percent efficiency gains are normally on the table and that is normally greater than what ever the carbon tax is.

    Since a 4% efficiency gain was good enough to keep price level and cancel out the Australian carbon tax that is all the power companies and others end up doing.

    Personally from the different numbers I really think mandated efficiency standards is a better route than carbon tax if you are after environmental improvement.

    Claims carbon tax does no environmental improvement is pure bogus. Percentage of environmental improvement is linked directly to how high/low the carbon tax is. Of course the result is no saving or extra cost for the customers either way as long as the tax is inside what can be achieved. Now mandated efficiency laws in countries have seen cost savings to customers.

    “A 5 kW photo-voltaic system is around $25,000-$35,000.”
    Robert that is dougman saying the USA price of it.
    http://news.energysage.com/5kw-solar-systems-compare-prices-installers/
    $3.57 per watt of solar panels fitted is the USA figure.
    Australia is about $1-$1.50 AUD per watt fitted in solar panels and Canada is about the same. The battery bank bit can be expensive.

    What is going on here is USA per state regulation on what can be used for power generation resulting in solar panels going though multi handling before getting to the consumer. So the result is 2x to 3.5x the price is every other country to have solar panels fitted in the USA. Its the same problem the USA medical system has. USA has very cost ineffective disruption systems.

    USA people are that USA centric that they think USA prices apply to everyone totally not aware they are paying to much for so many different things it not funny.

  5. dougman says:

    “The CSA specs are usually implemented by using certified equipment and installing to Code but it is possible to have an installation of uncertified equipment tested after installation.”

    Yes, I understand that. Typically this costs a decent sum of money, but hey, you have a relative and can, you know *wink-wink* get some free stickers.

  6. dougman wrote, “None of which are CSA/UL compliant.”

    The CSA specs are usually implemented by using certified equipment and installing to Code but it is possible to have an installation of uncertified equipment tested after installation. All that’s necessary is to have a certificate that the installation meets all applicable CSA standards such as bonding, current/voltage limiting, leakage, load capacity etc. There are folks who do that for hospitals, factories and the like where all kinds of specialized equipment may be installed. The cost is much less than certifying each individual piece of the installation. A very common example is a PC. The CPU is there but does not require CSA certification as long as the PSU, cables, connectors and chassis are CSA certified. The important thing is that the installation does not spread death and destruction and that can be certified by combining it all in a sturdy conductive shell that is protected to/from the mains. Similarly, smartphones and other gadgets don’t require CSA certification because their power-blocks are and part of the certification is that the low-voltage circuit is protected in various ways.

  7. dougman wrote, “they will not let you just disconnect”.

    That’s just not true. The Manitoban version of the Code requires inspections and CSA certification of equipment for stuff that Hydro supplies but, suppose you ran your home on 12 V for lighting/ventilation/computing. The Code would not apply. You might have difficulty getting such a plan past the building inspector but he doesn’t inspect all kinds of temporary setups so nothing prevents setting up a PV farm off-grid putting power into a battery which could be switched over to an approved inverter from time to time. If necessary, one could charge the battery here and deliver its charge there… or you could just generate hydrogen and feed it into an approved fuel-cell or generator or heating appliance. The PV array does not have to be CSA certified if its not doing anything. Again, life would be simpler back in the bush somewhere living in a tent.

  8. dougman says:

    “Certainly not.”

    I agree! The Pogson way would be UBER cheap and far over-budget!!

    Manitoba-Hydro will look at your jury-rigged arrangement with much disdain. Better follow their lead on this one.

    https://www.hydro.mb.ca/environment/customer_owned_generation/distributed.shtml

    “I suppose you could find one that costs that much, say with a grid connection and all the right certs, but the basic equipment is far less than that.”

    Again, none CSA parts; you also have to maintain a grid-connection per Canadian regulations, they will not let you just disconnect. On top of that, you cannot back-feed the grid either, as you would electrocute someone or set a home on fire.

    BTW: Geothermal heating would be a more viable solution for home heating.

  9. dougman says:

    “solar panels are about $0.50/watt and the price might multiply a few times by the time freight and installation are included”

    None of which are CSA/UL compliant.

    ” but I can do a lot of the work myself and if stuff has to be to code, I have a relative…”

    LOL, you fool! It all has be to CSA compliant!!

    Of course *wink-wink*, your relative could save you a few thousand, by slapping a CE sticker on it of course. What is family for, eh?

  10. dougman wrote, “A 5 kW photo-voltaic system is around $25,000-$35,000.”

    Certainly not. I suppose you could find one that costs that much, say with a grid connection and all the right certs, but the basic equipment is far less than that. I already have the components for an inverter I will build some day and the total cost was ~$100, not thousands. The panels might cost ~$3K and perhaps twice that for freight and installation. Most folks use a metal frame to attach to the roof. It’s much simpler to use them like shingles attached directly with cabling either entering the roof or running over the surface. Some panels will accumulate snow in winter storms but that’s usually temporary here as a sunny day melts it. My yard is large enough I could set up frames on the ground too but TLW would likely object. She hates anything she can see that she doesn’t create…

  11. dougman wrote, “If you feel like blowing $35K in solar doo-dads from China”.

    Uh, solar panels are about $0.50/watt and the price might multiply a few times by the time freight and installation are included but I can do a lot of the work myself and if stuff has to be to code, I have a relative… The thing is I don’t need to completely replace my grid capacity. I rarely if ever use all of that. The trick is heating/power in the night. In a pinch we could overheat the house during the day and coast for one night. I also have an alternator which will soon be available for nights. Our local utility is willing to kick in some money to avoid having to build the next hydroelectric dam. We’ll soon have our mortgage paid so we could easily afford borrowing if necessary to install solar panels and an inverter. I would like to have a wall of NiFe cells in the garage too but that’s probably about the same cost as the solar power.

  12. dougman says:

    “cut out the middle men if generated locally as on my roof or in my back yard”

    By the way, generators are a misnomer, they DO NOT “generate” anything. Back on topic, you don’t “generate” anything either in your backyard or roof, so the analogy you use is preposterous.

    If you feel like blowing $35K in solar doo-dads from China, be my guest. Just remember, when a power outage occurs, you cannot back-feed the grid, per IEEE 1547 and UL 1741.

  13. dougman says:

    “As far as I can tell solar and wind and tidal power sources cost less ”

    Really?

    A 5 kW photo-voltaic system is around $25,000-$35,000. Utility companies will offer incentives, and some subsidize system cost, but that won’t be for long. In addition, payback can be 15-20 years. A rather sizable investment wouldn’t you say? I’t would be cheaper to just pay your local provider each month and do something else with the money.

    Tidal Power? What a joke. Don’t even go there.

    Wind Power? Well, since the past 35 years, wind energy – which supplied just 4.4% of US electricity in 2014 – has received US$30 billion in federal subsidies and grants, which hide the uncomfortable truth of just how much wind power actually costs and transfer money from average taxpayers to wealthy wind farm owners, many of which are units of foreign companies.

    How profitable would these be, if those were removed? http://www.nationalreview.com/article/436228/wind-energy-subsidies-billions

    The levelized cost of energy (LCOE), places the cost of generating a megawatt-hour of electricity from wind at a range of $37 to $81, stated by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). However, a recent survey states it is almost double the that: http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Giberson-study-Final.pdf

    There is a fair summation on the subject on wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source

    It would be safe to say that anything could be profitable, if you tossed enough money at it.

    To finish, wind offers no base-load supply as do hydrocarbon and nuclear solutions. When the wind does not blow, other plants must cycle-on to pickup the load.

  14. dougman wrote, “Policies that increase the price of energy harm the economy.”

    What policies are those? As far as I can tell solar and wind and tidal power sources cost less than drilling and pumping and paying oil companies. These renewable energy sources cut out the middle men if generated locally as on my roof or in my back yard. How is that increasing the price of energy? One of the major effects of a carbon tax is to increase the rate of adoption of other cheaper sources of energy. It’s not about “harming the economy” but invigorating it and increasing resilience. The price of oil is set by global players, some of whom use oil as a weapon against the world. Renewable energy sources are a good defence against that on top of the benefits of slowing down the increase in CO2 levels.

  15. dougman says:

    “Dougman do you like smog. ”

    What an ignorant question to ask. I suggest you read: Carbon Taxes: Reducing Economic Growth—Achieving No Environmental Improvement

    http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/Carbon_Taxes_Primer.pdf

    Conclusion: Policies that increase the price of energy harm the economy. However, the entire point of policies like carbon taxes and cap and trade is to increase energy prices. These cost increases make the economy less efficient domestically and it makes the United States less economically competitive internationally. Higher energy prices harms America’s ability to grow its economy at home and it means more American jobs will be shipped overseas.

    Speaking of smog, the ONLY country that should be looked upon for pollution controls is China.

  16. oiaohm says:

    Dougman
    Given time, politicians will be taxing you on the amount of air you breathe.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/lists/The-breathing-tax-and-10-other-ridiculous-air-travel-charges/
    Commercial entities have worked out how to-do that one.

    Do also remember Canada already has fuel, coal and gas taxes. So if carbon tax would in fact change anything depends on what else changes. If the existing taxes reduce or are removed then transport and everything else might not change one bit.

    From the time Australia before Australia had a carbon tax to when it had a carbon tax to when it repealed the carbon tax cost of transportation/food…. did not increase because of the carbon tax. Stupid enough carbon tax caused reduction in cost in Australia over most of the items people list as being harmed by adding a carbon tax. Also that reduction is also shown in every country to implement a carbon tax. Mostly repealed in Australia because enforcement was a pure pain.

    For example Australian electricity sector spent money making sure there power plants were operating correctly so producing less pollution and get more power out of gas or coal they were burning. So a year or two of a carbon tax does the place a lot of good. So a carbon tax 2 years out of 20 would most likely be a good thing. On going with the constant enforcement costs most likely a carbon tax is not worth it.

    Dougman do you like smog. The year of carbon tax made smog disappear from around cairns in Australia. I personally think something like a carbon tax we need in moderation to keep companies on their toes.

    Its fairly much governments need to kick companies up ass over pollution from time to time or they do incorrect cost cutting resulting in increased pollution and poorer efficiencies. So if not a carbon tax something else that basically harmed companies not doing correct operational maintenance so they do.

  17. dougman says:

    Here is something more important: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r73fGh7iv9Y

    Kudos to Trudeau!

  18. dougman says:

    Yes, lets ban CO2! Better yet, let’s remove it all from the face of the planet. Oh wait we can’t!…ok, lets tax it then.

    http://dailycaller.com/2016/10/03/trudeau-is-forcing-all-canadian-provinces-to-tax-co2-even-if-they-dont-want-to/

    Given time, politicians will be taxing you on the amount of air you breathe.

  19. AdmFubar says:

    there you are.. thought something happened to you. good to see you posting again

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *