Researchers at the Sandia National Laboratories are developing a reactor that could ultimately result in production of fuel from carbon dioxide.
The device uses a two-stage thermochemical reaction to break down carbon dioxide to produce carbon monoxide, says Nathan Siegel, a senior member of technical staffat Sandia's Solar Technologies Department and one of the researchers developing the technology. "Carbon dioxide is a combustion product, so what we're doing is reversing combustion," he says. The carbon monoxide can then readily be employed to produce a range of different fuels, including hydrogen, methanol, and gasoline, using conventional technologies.
The cyclical process consists of a reduction of carbon dioxide to make carbon monoxide, which could then be used to generate fuel.
It may take up to five years for the complete development to take place, but the result could possibly be the best way to reduce greenhouse gases, the cause of global warming.