Humans are emitting carbon dioxide (CO2) at an unprecedented rate by burning fossil fuels for transportation and electricity generation, which is driving global climate change. Photosynthesis originally converted that CO2 into the organic matter, which, over millions of years, turned into the coal and oil we are extracting from the ground today.
Recycling CO2 (obtained from flue gas from smokestacks or extracted from ambient air) to produce liquid fuels can provide near-term solutions that fit within the existing energy infrastructure and can mitigate the negative effects of dirty energy sources.
Of particular interest is the reduction of CO2 to CO, which, as a component of synthesis gas (syngas), can be converted to methane, synthetic petroleum, or other liquid fuels using commercially mature technologies.
SOFI researchers are developing new catalysts that waste less energy, are more efficient, and have greater longevity.