Selasa, 19 Februari 2008

Making Gasoline from Atmospheric CO2

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a process that could be used to make gasoline from air. Called Green Freedom, the process would use atmospheric CO2 as the source of the carbon in gasoline. This would make gasoline completely carbon-neutral; using gasoline as a fuel would produce CO2 as a waste product, and that CO2 would be converted back into gasoline again.

A non-polluting source of energy would be required to drive the manufacturing process. The most likely candidates would be nuclear or solar power. The process is already technologically possible. The only hitch is that at with current technologies, it would not be economically feasible until gasoline hits $4.60/gallon. But with certain technological advances the break-even price could drop as low as $3.40 per gallon.

See "Green Freedom: A Concept for Producing Carbon-Neutral Synthetic Fuels and Chemicals" at The article could spark an interesting debate among your students about whether we ought to build nuclear power plants to alleviate the greenhouse gas problem.

Your students are too young to remember, but you might remind them that Los Alamos National Laboratory was once a very hush-hush place where the U.S. developed the first nuclear weapons. It is encouraging to see the laboratory converted to peaceful purposes.

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