Intimately, the UofC researchers have developed a course of based mostly on the “Sabatier response,” which is a course of the Worldwide Area Station makes use of to clean the carbon dioxide from the air the astronauts breathe and generate rocket gasoline to maintain the station in excessive orbit.
However because the Martian environment consists nearly completely of carbon dioxide, astronauts may deal with it as like a gasoline station and simply pump carbon dioxide by the reactor and produce methane for a rocket.
In a paper printed within the journal Nature Communications, the specialists clarify that the method of capturing and remodeling CO2 additionally holds promise to assist mitigate local weather change, whereas producing gasoline on Earth as a byproduct.
“The Biden Administration has set a aim of attaining a 50% discount in greenhouse gasoline pollution by 2030 and an economic system that depends on renewable power by 2050,” senior researcher Jingjie Wu stated in a media assertion. “Which means we’ll should recycle carbon dioxide.”
Wu and his college students, together with lead writer Tianyu Zhang, are additionally experimenting with totally different catalysts reminiscent of graphene quantum dots — layers of carbon simply nanometers large — that may improve the yield of methane.
“The method is 100 instances extra productive than it was simply 10 years in the past. So you may think about that progress will come quicker and quicker,” Wu stated. “Within the subsequent 10 years, we’ll have loads of startup firms to commercialize this system.”
Wu identified that his college students are additionally making use of this system with totally different catalysts to provide ethylene. Referred to as the world’s most vital chemical, ethylene is used within the manufacture of plastics, rubber, artificial clothes and different merchandise.