Researchers at US Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab have transformed lignin into a precursor for a useful chemical with a wide range of potential applications.
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology discovered a new way to produce carbon-based liquid fuels from CO2.
One of the problems with carbon dioxide is the strength of the carbon-oxygen bond. It is very difficult to break its bonds and free up the carbon for reactive chemistry. CO2 activation – the process of persuading oxygen-bound carbon to react – has therefore been a goal of chemistry for some years. A potential breakthrough has now come from researchers at Duke University in North Carolina, USA, who have engineered nanoparticles containing the precious metal rhodium that convert CO2 into methane via UV light. The methane could be used directly as a fuel or as a feedstock for reaction into further organic molecules.
A US$60 million demonstration plant converting cane bagasse into xylose is nearing completion and will be ready to open in early autumn in Raceland, Louisiana according to plant manager Carey Buckles.
Using these new catalysts, arenols (phenol derivatives) were successfully deoxygenated to afford the corresponding arenes. In addition, aryl methyl ethers were converted selectively to arenols after demethylation with dihydrogen using the same catalysts.
They have created a system that uses bacteria (Ralstonia eutropha) to convert solar energy into a liquid fuel. Their work integrates an “artificial leaf,” which uses a catalyst to make sunlight split water into hydrogen and oxygen, with a bacterium engineered to convert carbon dioxide plus hydrogen into the liquid fuel isopropanol.