In The Future Plastic Can Be Made From CO2 And Sunshine

Posted: May 20 2018, 1:27am CDT | by , Updated: May 20 2018, 1:28am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

In the Future Plastic can be Made from CO2 and Sunshine.

Canadian Scientists created Ethylene, a Plastic Precursor, by Breaking Down CO2.

Carbon emissions are the main reason behind global warming, raised levels of CO2 causes greenhouse effect, thereby increasing global temperature.

Canadian scientists, led by Ted Sargent, a professor at the University of Toronto, have made a breakthrough in developing a technology that can enable plastic production from CO2 and sunshine. During their lab experiment, they used copper-based catalyst and converted carbon dioxide to ethylene, to break down CO2 renewable solar electricity was also used.

Details of the study were published in the science journal of Toronto University.

If this process can be implemented on an industrial scale, this will solve a major problem associated with carbon capture, ethylene obtained through this process can be used to make a different kind of plastics.

At present, this technology extracts CO2 from flue gases, obtaining ethylene on an industrial level does not seem commercially feasible. However, the scientists are experimenting to improve the outcome so it can be used to produce large quantities of ethylene.

Initially, the scientists had some stability issues, to overcome it the catalyst was deposited on a porous layer made of Teflon and carbon sandwiched above it.

Copper-based catalysts led to an improvement in selectivity of the conversion and also were more energy efficient, their stability in high acidic condition proved to be ideal for converting carbon to ethylene.

With this new setup, they stopped the degradation of the catalyst, and it lasted 15 times longer than in previous experiments.

It is just a start on a laboratory scale, and the team was only able to extract few grams of ethylene during each experiment; further development in this technology can help in saving our planet.

According to International Energy Agency, making plastic from fossil fuels accounted for 1.4% of global CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. If ethylene obtained from breaking carbon dioxide is used on industrial levels, it can, in fact, reverse the whole process.

If carbon can be transformed into ethylene on large scales, companies would also get inclined towards this new carbon capture technology.

Some other research teams have been involved in similar kind of experiments in the past. Last year scientists at National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado experimented to make fuels by breaking down Co2 into CO and Oxygen, then by mixing CO and Hydrogen to get a variety of hydrocarbon fuels, but the results were not very much energy efficient.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Manfred "Luigi" Lugmayr () is the founding Chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 25 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets, tech and online shopping. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology news and tech and toy shopping hub.
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