If we could somehow invent a reliable technology that could “eat out” all the excess CO2 from the atmosphere in a large scale, we could turn back to where we started from a hundred years ago, reducing global warming and the change of climate.
Singaporean scientists from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology found another way of capturing carbon dioxide, besides storing it into the oceans and underground. By using organocatalysts (catalysts that are comprised of non-metallic elements found in organic compounds), they captured carbon dioxide in a mild and non-toxic process. Furthermore, they produced methanol, which can be used as a fuel or industrial feedstock.
They used N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHC), a newly-discovered organocatalyst, and found they are very stable even in the presence of oxygen. The process is more complicated, and it’s described here, if your passion is Chemistry.
Ok, but the question is the following: we are capturing the CO2, capturing hydrogen into it to make the methanol, but if we burn it, it will go back into the atmosphere. Our atmosphere currently needs ways to get rid of carbon dioxide, to eventually burry it safely.
I guess that by the time we will have done that, we will have invented other ways of powering our cars than petrol-based fuels, and the equation will gradually change our lives for the better. But that’s just an optimistic thought. Let’s all strive to make it real. I only have one advice: invent good things for the future!