Posted on : Sunday 8th March 2020 06:10 AM
South Korean scientists have successfully developed a new catalyst to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into commercially viable gasoline, according to state-run Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT) on Tuesday.
A research team of Dr. Jun Ki-won and Dr. Kim Seok-ki at the institute’s Carbon Resources Center said when carbon dioxide passes through the conversion process, 20 percent of the gas is made into gasoline and the direct conversion rate goes up to 90 percent through a repeated conversion process.
The research findings were published in the December edition of the Journal of CO2 Utilization.
The world’s first two-step direct conversion process is conducted at a temperature of 300 degrees Celsius, lowering the cost of producing one liter of gasoline to a commercially viable level, the scientists said. The temperature required for the conversion was 800 degrees Celsius in the previous indirect conversion process.
The scientists have optimized a catalyst by analyzing how much steel, copper, and potassium should be used in the direct conversion mechanism.
The direct conversion process is much more efficient than the indirect conversion, which means it is likely to be commercialized. The researchers plan to conduct a follow-up study with a pilot plant early next year to improve the technology. The KRICT expects it will be able to build a demonstration plant two years later and if the study proceeds as planned, the technology will be commercially available in 2030.
German energy company SunPower is now the closest to commercial CO2-gasoline conversion. A Norwegian company is building a commercial plant based on SunPower’s technology. If completed in 2021, the plant will be able to convert 21,000 tons of CO2 into 8,000 tons of synthetic oil per year.