Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a new system that can be used to convert power plants’ CO2 emissions into useful fuel for cars, trucks, and airplanes.
This new method is based on a unique, specialized membrane system.
This unique membrane is made of a compound of lanthanum, calcium, and iron oxide, which allows oxygen from a stream of carbon dioxide to pass across the screen to leave carbon monoxide behind.
The researchers say carbon monoxide produced in this process can be used as a fuel or in combination with hydrogen or water to create a variety of other liquid hydrocarbon fuels as well as chemicals, including methanol (used as automobile fuel) syngas.
Xiao-Yu Wu of the MIT Institute said the membrane has a perovskite structure that is 100% selective for oxygen, allowing only those atoms to pass through.
The researchers say this separation is controlled by temperatures up to 990 degrees Celsius and is key to making the work process keep oxygen separating from carbon dioxide flowing through the cell membrane until the necessary substance is divided.
The researchers believe that this method will not only help cut greenhouse gases, but it can also generate another potential source of income to help offset costs.
Wu added the process could work with any level of CO2 concentration.