Researchers on the University of Illinois Chicago have found a technique to convert the methane in pure gasoline into liquid methanol at room temperature.
This discovery, reported within the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, might doubtlessly present a cleaner power supply for a lot of of our on a regular basis actions.
When burned, pure gasoline—the gasoline used to warmth houses, cook dinner meals and generate electrical energy—produces carbon dioxide, a robust greenhouse gasoline.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. consumed roughly 31 trillion cubic ft of pure gasoline in 2019, contributing roughly 1.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide to the environment.
A greater approach to make use of pure gasoline could be to transform it to methanol, a liquid fuel that burns extra cleanly and can be utilized to provide gasoline and plastics. But changing the methane present in pure gasoline into methanol requires numerous warmth and stress and generates a big quantity of carbon dioxide itself.
“Researchers have been interested in ways to convert methane to methanol at ambient temperatures to sidestep all the heat and pressure that is currently required in industrial processes to perform this conversion,” mentioned Meenesh Singh, assistant professor of chemical engineering on the UIC College of Engineering and corresponding writer of the paper.
Methanol is also regarded as the “fuel in the future,” driving a “methanol economy” the place it replaces fossil fuels in transportation, energy storage and because the dominant precursor materials for artificial chemical compounds and different merchandise. Methanol is at present utilized in gasoline cell know-how that powers some metropolis buses and different autos. Its decrease emission potentials and better volumetric power density make it a beautiful different to fossil fuels, Singh mentioned.
“Besides being a cleaner-burning fuel, methane can also be stored safely in regular containers, unlike natural gas, which has to be stored under pressure and which is much more expensive,” Singh mentioned.
High quantities of warmth and stress are required to interrupt the hydrocarbon bonds in methane gasoline, step one in producing methanol. But Singh and UIC graduate pupil Aditya Prajapati have recognized a catalyst materials that helps carry down the power wanted to interrupt these bonds in order that the response can happen at room temperature.
“We have been able to reduce the temperature of the industrial process from more than 200 degrees Celsius to room temperature, which is around 20 degrees Celsius,” Prajapati mentioned.
Their catalyst consists of titanium and copper. The catalyst, along with a small quantity of electrical energy, facilitates the breaking of the hydrocarbon bonds of methane and the formation of methanol. The course of makes use of a lot much less power than conventional strategies, and since it would not require equipment to provide excessive stress and warmth, it may be arrange rapidly and inexpensively.
“Our process doesn’t need to be centralized,” Singh mentioned. “It can be implemented in a space as small as a van and is portable for distributed utilization of natural gas and manufacturing of methanol.”
Singh and colleagues have filed a provisional patent for the method and count on that it might convert a number of liters of methanol a day. The patent is being managed via the UIC Office of Technology Management.
Aditya Prajapati et al, Fundamental perception into electrochemical oxidation of methane in direction of methanol on transition steel oxides, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2021). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2023233118
University of Illinois at Chicago
New technique converts methane in pure gasoline to methanol at room temperature (2021, February 19)
retrieved 19 February 2021
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