442851 Methanation of Supercritical Carbon Dioxide

Monday, November 9, 2015
Exhibit Hall 1 (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Monica Hemingway, Chemical Engineering, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Methanation of Supercritical CO2

M Hemingwaya, A McKeea, S Mubeena ,b,

a – The University of Iowa, b – Primary Investigator

In the IPCC Summary for Policy Makers from 2014, they state that the single most influential factor that has been accelerating the rate of Global Warming is anthropomorphic emissions of Greenhouse Gasses, such as Carbon Dioxide. There have been advancements in fossil fuel consumption technologies, such as the implementation of carbon capture and sequestration, which collects Carbon Dioxide and injects the gasses into deep geological formations With the Supercritical Reactor, we show an innovative approach that utilizes high pressures to place Carbon dioxide in its supercritical state for the purpose of producing fuels and chemicals of technological value utilizing sunlight as the primary energy input at near ambient temperatures.  The photo-electrochemical reduction of Carbon Dioxide to useful chemicals and fuels has been a topic of research for decades; however to-date no such material system exists that can produce hydrocarbons selectively at practical efficiencies. This notoriety is mainly due to other competing reactions happening at the catalyst surface under aqueous conditions or within the gas phase at elevated temperatures (e.g. proton reduction). To date, a custom Supercritical Reactor cell has been constructed to perform the photo-electrochemical studies utilizing optical windows and electrode set up to optimize product generation for preliminary characterization. Presently, the investigation of light absorbing materials (e.g. Zinc Sulfide, Tin Sulfide and Silicon) as well as electro-catalyst selection (e.g. Titanium Oxide, Aluminum doped Zinc Oxide, Copper Oxide) for selective conversion of Carbon Dioxide and Hydrogen into Methane and Methanol. We believe this approach is transformative in both the philosophy and technology associated with the use of Carbon Dioxide capture and solar energy as it would provide an avenue to continue using Methane in the energy economy, and enhancing it into a carbon neutral energy source.

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