Saturday, 5 February 2011

Making Use Of Carbon Dioxide

Rather than burying CO2 under ground, in recent years companies have started looking at other alternatives, specifically how to make use of the gas as a chemical starting material.
The main problem scientists have faced so far is the unreactiveness of CO2, it being a stable compound that generally doesn't do much chemically.

In Germany the company Bayer has tried to turn carbon dioxide into a chemical feedstock to make plastics, or specifically polyurethane polymers.  The interesting thing here is that these polymers are generally used for insulation of houses, meaning that they will reduce the amount of CO2 emitted in two ways: by using it up during production, and by providing better insulation, reducing loss of energy from heating etc.


Bayer MaterialScience teamed up with the CAT Catalytic Center in Aachen, Germany, to try and turn CO2 into polyol feedstocks for polyurethane plastics. (Credit: BAYER MATERIALSCIENCE)


Another, this time US based company, called Phycal, has built an algae biofuel plant. The aim is to feed the algae CO2 and receive oil produced by the plants. Phycal produces its oil by introducing algae initially grown in isolation into ponds. The ponds contain nutrients and have waste CO2 injected into them at a rate set to maintain a steady pH and optimal algal growth rate. They are then fed sugars, and start producing oils at a very fast rate. This then makes it easy to take out the oil.

'Hands down, algae is the most productive oil crop on Earth on a per-area basis. The US Department of Energy says that soybean crops produce 48 gallons of oil per acre per year, he notes, while algae could produce 1000-6500 gallons per acre per year.'
says Phycal's Jeff Bargiel

A remarkable efficiency, especially nowadays when really most countries can't afford to waste any farmable space, that could be used for food production.


Opinions? Also general question: What do you think about climate change/global warming. Man made or natural? It's kinda related, and I'm curious.

39 comments:

  1. I didn't know algae could be used to make oil. Seems like we arent doomed to exaust our oil reserves after all.

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  2. Finally. Companys should all invest in researching alternatives like this,

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  3. Interesting facts about algae. As for global warming, I'm still not sure it's a permanent thing. Granted, burning up fossil fuels is only going to make things worse, but I think we are still in a 'correctable' area right now.

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  4. I'm not sure about global warming but I think it's natural

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  5. It's good to see this, but just aint enough

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  6. interesting stuff

    your friend,
    ectomorphmuscle.blogspot.com

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  7. Global warming is a myth. However, the use of CO2 in such a manner intrigues me.

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  8. Future looks exciting! Don't believe in global warming tho. Followed!

    musicnewslife.blogspot.com

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  9. Well, you know, that's what we generally have to aim for; don't dispose it, make use of it.

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  10. Nice, and also to your question, i believe man-made

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  11. I really should start breathing into a bag and sell them

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  12. I never knew that about algea...

    And to the question, I think it's man made.

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  13. Thats super interesting! :3

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  14. I still hope our cars will run on garbage by 2015.

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  15. using CO2 for production is a great idea.
    i think global warming is mostly man made, and we keep polluting air and land

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  16. I still can't believe they're creating oil with plants, and this will make it so much more efficient.

    To the question: I think the warming happens naturally, but has been sped up just a bit by us.

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  17. this is awesome stuff, great post.

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  18. Fascinating stuff, the U.S. needs more creative people and innovative ideas like these. Personally, I think climate change is a combination of man made effects and natural ones, the 19th century, after all, did mark the end of a mini-ice age.

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  19. wow thats really interesting thanks for sharing!

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  20. Honestly I think it's a bit of both.
    Moreso man-made though because of how much we've changed and used up our resources, not to mention take up quite a bit of land that used to be untouched.
    You can't take from it and not expect it to stay the same.
    Totally loving these blog posts!! They're really a good read!

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  21. Well now this is interesting, good post

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  22. Even if you don't believe in global warming, it cant be good for your health. Nice blog, definitely following

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  23. Damn, that's crazy man. Mind=Blown

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  24. now that is what i call an informative blog post!

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  25. Will not deny that the Earth is warming, do deny the anthropogenic part though.

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  26. Wow that is awesome. I didn't know that scientists were doing those things.

    As for global warming? It's real, it's there and it's obvious. People deny it because they don't understand it, and because of that lack of understanding they fear it. The effect is there and there's scientific proof of it, what more do you need?

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  27. Awesome new uses of CO2, especially for the biofuel.

    Climate change is natural, and man-made. The world's undergone so many climate changes, though this one is probably rushed by the involvement of man.

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  28. Wow. It's awesome to hear that algae is such a useful crop! I had no idea; it's shocking and sad what they DON'T teach us in high school.

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  29. The law of conservation of energy comes to mind.

    As energy is never destroyed the fundemental laws of physics dictates there to be a adequate use for carbon dioxide somewhere.

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  30. whoever was able to name his company Phycal, won at the name game.

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  31. I've actually been learning more about this in my college level classes. It's cool to know other people are too. Thanks! followed.

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  32. We should take the CO2
    and put it in the forests!

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  33. great post. keep up the good work

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  34. Hey, nice post, looking forward to the next ones. :)

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  35. Man made or otherwise, we should prepare - and I've always thought algae is a good way to go.

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