Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake


Technology Review on Making Gasoline from Carbon Dioxide:
A solar-powered reaction turns a greenhouse gas into a valuable raw material.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), recently demonstrated that light absorbed and converted into electricity by a silicon electrode can help drive a reaction that converts carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide and oxygen. Carbon monoxide is a valuable commodity chemical that is widely used to make plastics and other products, says Clifford Kubiak, professor of chemistry at UCSD.

Is it just me, or is this story badly misrepresenting itself? There's nothing inherently "solar powered" about the carbon dioxide reaction they're describing. That electricity could just as easily come from fossil fuel, hydro power or me stroking my cat. Likewise, the carbon dioxide reaction doesn't create gasoline. It creates oxygen and carbon monoxide. The news to me is that carbon monoxide is a feedstock chemical for producing gasoline, which doesn't seem right to me, but I am not a chemist, so what do I know?

There seem to at least two big stretchers in this piece. Am I right? Or am I misunderstanding the story?
Tags: links, science, tech

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