Back in February 2016 we announced the commencement of the building phase of the SOFI Demonstration Project. Our plan designated four phases of development:

  • Phase 1: CO2 to Methanol conversion
  • Phase 2: H2 generation from water splitting
  • Phase 3: Renewable energy incorporation
  • Phase 4: CO2 capture

This past April Alex Grant, a graduate student in the Notestein research group at Northwestern University, began working on Phase 1 of the SOFI Demo Project – the CO2 to Methanol reactor. After 6 months of building, coding, and tweaking – the first drops of methanol dripped from the reactor’s condenser.

While not fully optimized, on November 7th 2016 the ultimate goal of Phase 1 was achieved. Lucky for us, Alex kept working. Some small adjustments pushed production to around 1 drop every 4 minutes. While a detailed discussion of the results and conclusions are still forthcoming, we can tell you a little bit about the system.


SOFI’s commitment to modular design is maintained in the reactor design. Different catalysts can easily be incorporated. Pressures from 1-50 bar and temperatures up to 500 °C accommodate many catalysts. Stay tuned to SOFI’s blog and social media for more updates on the SOFI Demonstration Project.