Green heads will explode over new renewable process: CO2 to Coal

Move over wind farms. Step aside acres of solar panels. There’s a new renewable energy source coming down the pike, and it has the potential to put the others out of business. And, ironically, it’s the climate alarmists’ biggest demon. It’s carbon dioxide.

Carbon sequestration, as the process is called, removes CO2 from the atmosphere and turns it into a solid form, namely coal, in order to be able to store it safely back in the ground where it came from. 

A research team led by RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, has discovered a new method of taking carbon dioxide in its gas form and converting it into solid coal. The discovery has the potential to completely change the way people regard the carbon dioxide that humans release into the atmosphere. The paper detailing how the feat was accomplished was published on February 26 in Nature Communications.

“While we can’t literally turn back time, turning carbon dioxide back into coal and burying it back in the ground is a bit like rewinding the emissions clock,” said Dr. Torben Daeneke, a research scientist at RMIT University.


A schematic illustration showing how liquid metal is used as a catalyst for converting carbon dioxide into solid coal. Credit: RMIT University

Methods of carbon sequestration already exist, but those methods are technically and economically challenging. Major oil companies and energy concerns such as Shell are currently spending a fortune on projects aimed at removing atmospheric CO2 from the air, but those processes involve turning CO2 into a liquid form and injecting it back into rock formations. The process is so expensive that even major companies can’t afford it without government subsidies. 

While this is not the first time that scientists have been able to turn CO2 into coal, previous methods required extremely high temperatures and were not viable outside a laboratory setting. The new method can be accomplished at room temperature.

“To date, CO2 has only been converted into a solid at extremely high temperatures, making it industrially unviable,” Daeneke said.

But the researchers found a way around the extreme temperature problem. “By using liquid metals as a catalyst, we’ve shown it’s possible to turn the gas back into carbon at room temperature, in a process that’s efficient and scaleable,” Daeneke said.

The liquid metal catalyst was developed by the researchers with specific surface properties, making it extremely efficient at conducting electricity, while chemically activating the surface.

According to the press release: “The carbon dioxide is dissolved in a beaker with an electrolyte liquid and a small amount of the liquid metal, which is then charged with an electric current. The CO2 slowly converts into solid flakes of carbon, which are naturally detached from the liquid metal surface, allowing the continuous production of carbonaceous solid.”

And, yes, the process has the potential to yield a future energy source. The carbon produced may be able to be used as an electrode.

Full story here

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187 thoughts on “Green heads will explode over new renewable process: CO2 to Coal

  1. Wow, based on this process, next we’ll be able to make aluminium out of bauxite.
    All it requires is a little electricity.
    Oh wait . . . .

    • I love you Anthony, but this idea is nuts. It’s got to be 10% energy efficient on top of the 33%ish energy efficiency of the electricity from coal or nuclear on the front end, and again on the back end if you want to burn the produced coal again. That’s 1% efficient tops. And where is the lithium used as a catalyst going to come from in an industrial scale?

      • In addition to the electric current as a reducing force, the liquid metal (whatever that is) most certainly is undergoing a form change to increase its oxidation state, thereby supplying more electrons to reduce the CO2 to carbon and freeing the oxygen to oxidize the metal.
        And note the key kinetics word in the above CO2 conversion description is “slowly.”

        Maybe liquid metal electrolyte like a chromic acid solution? Chrome can supply a lot of electrons to the oxidation process, which is why it is loved by car afficonados to chrome-plate steel.

        The article here doesn’t say much on the catalyst metal or metal electrolyte details, but I have no inclination chase that useless rabbit down the hole of reference searches.

        • Would your chromic acid solution be hexavalent chrome? Cr (VI)? The most lethal substance known to man after Plutonium and Carbon?

          • The most lethal substance known to man after Plutonium and Carbon. –>

            The most lethal substance known to man after hydrochloric acid, Plutonium and Carbon.

          • “The most lethal substance known to man after MAN, hydrochloric acid, Plutonium and Carbon”

            FTFY – no charge.

          • The idea that Plutonium is highly lethal is wrong.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plutonium#Toxicity

            Chemically, it has toxicity similar to other heavy metals such as Lead or Mercury. You want to avoid exposure if you can do so easily.

            Even among radioactive materials it is inter-mediate to low since most isotopes are primarily alpha emitters, and most of the material produced in reactors is Pu-239, with a 24,100 year half life. Longer half life means it is a less strong source for longer. Co-60, for example, produces two hard gammas and has a half life of 5.27 years, so it’s blazing hot and highly damaging, but lasts a much shorter time.

        • Why do they get paid to work on these insane attempts to “revers time”?

          You can NOT reverse entropy change. If you burnt coal to get energy and CO2 is will take far MORE energy to convert that CO2 back into “coal”.

          All the clever chemistry is totally pointless to even contemplate when you would need far more than all the energy we have ever generated to “put it back in the ground”.

          These guys are not uneducated , they know it’s pointless attempt to go against the laws of thermodynamics but they are cynically wasting the research grants they are being given.

          • It isn’t about whether or not they are educated, it is about political dogma driving science. As long as science research is dependent on government funding, and government funding is driving by the idiotic ideology of AGW, educated (or should that be credentialed) people will waste government money on useless research because, useless research is the only kind of research the government will fund.

            The problem is the government funding of science. Government funded art results in junk art; government funded science (as long as it isn’t defense related) results in junk science.

          • The same result can be achieved by growing trees and burying them in the same hole the coal came from.

            It would take a lot less electricity and create jobs for a very low cost. They could sell some of the wood to pay salaries and thus render the whole scheme sustainable.

          • Yes, most sensible chemists would wade through the BS surrounding the article and then ask “Why would anyone be interested in developing catalysts to enhance the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide to solid carbon species?” A new way to do something there is no sense in doing is a waste of time and money.

            In what world would it make sense to have a grant to do this research? The closest situation I can imagine is one that has been discussed here once that I can recall. It is the potential situation on a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier where there is a large over-supply of effectively free electrical energy, but a shortage of jet fuel. The electrochemical reduction of CO2 to hydrocarbons for use as jet fuel, using carbon dioxide from the air or seawater, might then appear attractive.

            Reading between the lines, I suspect that the authors were hoping to achieve reduction to useful liquid hydrocarbons but ended up with solid carbonaceous products instead. They then tried to positively spin the results along the lines of “Hey, we could then bury these useless products in the ground as if they were coal.” Very expensive lame carbon sequestration.

            It’s all very silly, but much entertainment can be had trying to guess what researchers were originally hoping for in reports of a failed project. They got the grant, spent the money, had a party, and now have to tell a story with the less-than-stellar results.

          • Turn the trees into cardboard boxes, ship stuff in the boxes, bury the boxes – ta da!

          • “Malcolm Carter”

            I have long advocated that. Mine coal, burn it, release CO2 into the atmosphere. Grow trees, make paper, turn the paper into slurry and pack it at high pressure back into old coal mines much like “rammed earth”. The paper slurry, pound for pound, would have more carbon than the coal that came out of the mine and the best thing of all is, in an emergency, that packed carbon could be used again. Packing that paper in at high pressure would also reduce surface subsidence that often happens above old mines. It could be packed with hydraulic rams to nearly the density of the coal that came out. A few centuries sitting in that shaft under pressure from the rock above might also help transform it into something even more useful than just the compressed paper slurry. Might turn into coal again.

        • The difficult part of sequestering CO2 has always been extracting it economically from the factory flue or the wider atmosphere.
          How many metals are liquid at room temperature?
          It’s not coal they get, it’s carbon. If you want coal you can burn it needs to contain masses of hydrocarbon.
          They have the process going in a beaker – scaling up and getting past the inefficiencies is probably impossible.
          Whimsical tyro lab play!

      • Yeah, but you could disconnect all the unreliable wind and solar power from the grid, and use it to create coal that you then burn in reliable power stations.

        Sure it would be inefficient, but no-one who cares about efficiency would use solar or wind power in the first place.

        • That would certainly be a way around the intermittency problem of renewables. If you must have renewables, keep them away from the grid. The grid could be made efficient again.

          SR

        • This comes up again and again in various form, and it won’t work. Process industries can’t be run on intermittent power. Stopping and starting takes time and wastes energy.

          • Intermittent energy can be regularized, in presence of hydro power, with reasonable efficiency. I guess 60% is easy to reach, 70% might be near maximum. The internet gives as high number as 87%, but that is surely in jest.

            Pumped hydro is the most efficient way to large scale power regularization, but is limited to places where hydro is available. Environmental organizations might work hard against this scheme though Denmark and Norway could possibly use this to reach local grid stability in conjunction with wind power use. Cheap solar, once it comes available, could also be used to pump water. Which is apparently never.

          • Norway has plenty of Hydro and Sweden has quite a lot too. Without Norway and Sweden to help the Danish Grid would have collapsed long ago.

          • Pumped hydro is the fastest way to waste money. What you’re suggesting is a renewables generating capacity to produce electricity for consumers, a second renewables generating capacity to pump the water up to the reservoir, and a third (hydro) full generating capacity to produce electricity for consumers when the renewables are down.

            Better and cheaper by far, to use just one fossil fuel generating capacity.

      • Who cares if it is efficient or not. It removes co2 from the atmosphere! Greenies will make you pay for it, so don’t worry about the cost. Every Greenie can have their store of hard coal at home, gloating at it: “Evil carbon, I have captured you!”

        • OMG! Now that would be a scam I could get into. Market coal to greenies.

          Don’t buy carbon credits. Buy Coal!
          Keep that evil coal from ever being burned.

          Store it in your basement!
          Store it in your garage!
          Rent a storage locker to store even more coal!

          You can save the planet by making sure that coal never gets burned!

          Call BR-549 for more information on how you can Save The Planet by storing coal!

          Act NOW! Call today! Operators are standing by.

          • But WAIT! There’s more! If you buy one lump of coal today, we’ll give you a second lump for free! That’s two lumps of coal for the SAME low price! But if you call within the next 30 minutes, you’ll also receive this amazing set of steak knives! …

            Well, any way, it’s not coal, it’s just precipitated carbon.

          • WXcycles, don’t forget the, “ just pay shipping and handling ing charges,” tag line at the end. That’s where the profit hides.

          • Better yet, make the greenies TAKE THE SOLID CARBON and “sequester” it themselves…

            For roughly every 10,000 miles driven they need to accept and store THEIR TON OF CARBON (assuming it can make 100% carbon and not real coal which is roughly 50% carbon, otherwise TWO TONS).

            Then they might get the idea that its better left in the atmosphere where plants can grow better by it. Or send it over to the nearest coal plant for recycling.

            I’m thinking this new process doesn’t work by direct sunlight, so what a colossal waste of energy.

    • hahah. In one.
      I mean if the Left hadn’t systematically undermined any attempt to tech maths and science to people they would never get away with this nonsense.

    • Sometimes the obvious is staring one in the face.

      Nature has solved carbon sequestration, it is called trees.

      A very efficient design and one involving minimal cost.

      Why we are wasting time and money on this issue, god only knows.

      • No, no, no, that’s my idea for a renewable building construction material based on sequestration of atmospheric CO2.

        It has to have a scientific sounding name, such as lignonite. I’ll sell it by the millimeter and include a system for fastening pieces together. I shall call these fasteners, “nails.” But not like the nails at the end of AOC’s hands, these could actually hold things together. But the system will use one of the tools that she is so fond of.

      • Cut down mature trees, replant saplings. Backfill played-out coal mines with the felled trees (convert them to chips or sawdust, if need be). Then you have a ‘green’ coal mine using the same principles as the Drax power station.

      • The objective is “clean coal” and this could be marketed as the cleanest coal around. Think of all the jobs that can be created.

    • Wouldn’t it be easier just to introduce C02 to Hydrogen on a blind date!
      Oh wait…

    • Entropy doesn’t vanish when you catalyze a reaction. It goes just goes faster and always, always used more energy than the forward reaction produced. C+O2 =>CO2 + energy. CO2 +energy+more energy -> C

      The old adage applies:
      You can’t win.
      You can’t even break even.
      You can’t get out of the game.

    • Had this working at scale at least three years ago. Theory in 2007. Not new. CO2 is a non-polar solvent. You don’t need a metal to make this happen. There is one ingredient in the mix RMIT have not recognised. The metal attracts it.

    • Dude. the point is to take old aluminum cans and turn them into bauxite…not the other way round…

      Coal to CO2 to Coal is like…wow…perpetual motion…all it takes is power.

  2. I still cannot understand why CO2 is still being demonised. All that money chasing rainbows when it could be spent on worthwhile projects to clean up the mess mankind has dumped on the planet.

    • Greytide, I can. If you demonize a process that is indispensable to life, like breathing or keeping warm, or having light and heat in harsh climates, you can make them feel bad.

      You can then direct that bad feeling into “doing something” to alleviate the problem. Now you’re controlling people. Perhaps that’s the goal?

      • The goal is to throw sand in the eyes of great unwashed masses. Preoccupying the coming generations with a pointless, feel good, “crusade” while those behind the power remove our access to autonomous transport, free movement and democracy.

      • Kymm,
        I strongly suspect Warren Buffet knows a whole lot more about where “there is money to be made” than you.

        Warren Buffet “For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”
        bit.ly/2zOQR5x

    • It is easy to understand why co2 is demonised; it pays. Demonising the sun does not pay, so this is not done.

      Don’t talk about cleaning up the environment, then you’d have to talk about pollution from production of EV batteries and such unpleasant, far-away stuff. We don’t want that! We just want to make our money while feeling good about it, and co2 makes this possible. Heavens, there are plenty of ways of making money that makes one feel bad, so let us embrace the money-demon co2 with hearts and purses.

    • Effectively, carbon capture is an attempt to terra form Earth .. which is already the most life-friendly planet in our solar system, and is likely among the very most life-friendly planets out of the trillions of planets yet undiscovered in the universe.

      “Climate science” masquerading as climate engineering is literally human hubris taken to the infinite power.

      “We know next to nothing about how any of the climate system actually works today, let alone how it worked over the hundreds of millions of years that Earth has had an atmosphere .. but hey, don’t let that stop us from reengineering everything. We call this the “Precautionary principle!”

      Irony abounds.

    • Developing the engineering and technology to extinguish coal seam fires would eliminate as much co2 as all transportation in North America emits including aircraft.

  3. Liquid metal catalyst? At room temperature? What, pray tell, is this miraculous substance? AFAIK, the only metal liquid at 20C is mercury, but it would be much too simple to actually give us poor peasants some idea of what the current snake oil actually is.

    • They use nanoparticles imprenated with metallic Cerium. The chemistry question is where does the released oxygen go in this contraption?

      If the oxygen is released as gas above the liquid, this contraption could have usefulness as a regenerating CO2 scrubber on submarines and spaceships where electrical generation is not a huge problem during low demand periods like when the crew is sleeping. And Just toss the graphite carbon out with the trash.

      • Might very advantageous for submarines. Alkali based CO2 scrubbers produce CO2 gas which is harder to store or dispose of.

    • As for metals that are liquid at 20 C: There is only one metallic element that is liquid at 20 degrees C, but there are also some alloys that don’t include it that are liquid at 20 degrees C. Although there is still the matter of a source of energy to reverse the process of coal combustion.

  4. Lets see – we burn Carbon containing stuff to release the chemical energy in the form of heat which we then use to make electricity or make stuff go or other useful things which we can sell.
    Now, the proposal is that we figure out a way to take the Oxygen out of the CO2 [we have to put BACK the energy we just took away and used for good stuff!] leaving us with the Carbon.
    I was always taught that perpetual motion didn’t work in this Universe. Did I miss something?

    • Its just another perpetual motion Ponzi scheme to con funds from the scientifically challenged.

    • Yep. Simple stuff here. Burning carbon releases energy, create carbon from CO2 consumes energy. Conservation of mass (=energy) per Einstein.

      The best they could claim is an efficient sequester process, but one with a net energy cost. And to be effective at scale it probably needs to be nuclear powered.

  5. With a bit more heat and pressure, CO2 could be turned into something even more inert than coal – – diamonds. Also, (my chemistry is a bit rusty) the only metal I know of that is liquid at room temperature is mercury (Hg). What could go wrong?

    • Neil , interesting that you mention diamond. Some years ago , whilst working on a research project involving carbon layers for electro-optical devices, one team member noticed a paper that claimed that
      electrolysis of acetic acid (CH3.CO2H) yielded diamond films . You can get acetic acid from reacting CO2 with methyl sodium (Finar- Organic Chemistry) and then acidification . All things are possible in the wonderful world of organic chemistry , whether they are worth doing is another matter. BTW gallium melts at 30C .

      • Please remember that “cold pressed” oilive oil is produced at 40 deg C. ( according to EU regulation of the marketing label “cold pressed” ).

      • And 30 is the new 20 in the world of Climate Change ™

        So fair enough, “room temperature”

  6. Unless they have violated the Laws of Thermodynamics and made a Perpetual Motion Machine, the process will require energy. Energy to process and handle the input and output stream, energy to mine, smelt, and purify the metal catalyst, and energy to ‘un-mine’ the coal. What that means is that the net energy from fossil fuels could well end up being negative — which is maybe what they hope! In any even, I don’t see anything about cost estimates.

    • Now that I have skimmed the Nature article, I see that this is an electrochemical reduction process. That means, in addition to the other energy requirements I mentioned initially, there is a requirement of a continuous, low-voltage electricity source, which adds to the energy requirements! I doubt that this will ever see the commercial applications imagined, unless they can produce something of high unit value like carbon fullerenes.

      • Don’t tell anyone about the cost. All the warmistas need to know is that we have found a way to make coal a “renewable” energy resource. So there is no need to get rid of it. We can burn coal and then capture the CO2 and turn it back into coal again. Just don’t bring up the cost. Of course, they don’t seem to care about the cost when it comes to wind turbines and solar, so why would they care about the cost of renewable coal, as long as it doesn’t add CO2 to the atmosphere.

      • I guess the proposed process could only be potentially cost-effective when compared to other extreme policies to reduce or tax CO2 production. In that context it might have a plus (as it produces something on top of reduction).

    • So they put a tax on carbon and use the tax to make carbon.
      Another totally useless exercise when there are people starving.

  7. You have got to hand it to the Aussies, they have a real sense of humour.
    Maybe, they have plans to sell the coal production to China?
    It would get round the Green lobby who are demanding Australia stops exporting mined coal.
    You have laugh, the next thing they will tell us is Global Warming causes Global Cooling!

    • Hey buy Aussie coal and get free carbon credits! Never be fooled by that Aussie reputation of good-hearted matehood.

  8. “The CO2 slowly converts into solid flakes of carbon, which are naturally detached from the liquid metal surface, allowing the continuous production of carbonaceous solid.”

    Does this process exists naturally on Venus? Temperatures high enough to melt some metals and plenty of CO₂ and lots of pressure.

    What temperature “liquid metal”? Is this mercury or some version of “woods metal alloy“?

    “solid flakes of carbon”, that allegedly “naturally detached from the liquid metal surface”?
    In a closed container, the liquid metal would coat the bottom and eventually choke off the process.

    Once again, another claimed solution smacks of fantasyland. Details are sketchy, especially required energy inputs.

  9. Brilliant idea. Now we can destroy all life on Earth by CO2 depletion. Is it right that I despise 97% of all scientists in this enlightened era?
    Future generations will laugh at them…if we survive the coming Sciency Dark Ages. Those that defend scientists will say, “Oh but the vast majority of scientists were wonderful caring people.” But that wont be true, will it?
    What is need is a great big sciency cull.

  10. It takes 4 electrons to remove the oxygen from the carbon. So where are these electrons coming from? TANSTAAFL.

    • Easy peasy. From the Smart Meters. These new meters filter out the electrons from non-renewable sources in homes that have paid extra for renewable energy. From time to time the CO2-to-coal folks will make the rounds and dump the filters into electron buckets. Electrons aren’t very big so a bucket can hold quite a few Smart Meters’ dumpings. I absolutely will NOT put a \s on this post.

    • Virtually everywhere, of course. And because you are a taxpayer, you get to pay for it, as well as paying for those people who don’t believe in work.

  11. Ok let’s ask the onbvious question first: “Why would you want to remove CO2 from the atmosphere”?

    If anyone does that, we should immediately launch a law suite againsst the people doing this on the ground of damaging the environment, causing loss of soil and plant, thus agricultural, productivity.

    Secondly, first catch your room temperature metallic rabbit.

  12. One sandwich short of a picnic
    ==========================

    Since 1980, scientists have been using satellites to monitor the number of sandwiches in the Arctic region.

    Why do scientists monitor the number of sandwiches in the Arctic region, you might ask? The answer is quite simple. What do you think polar bears eat, when they can’t hunt seals, because there is no sea ice.

    The number of sandwiches grows and decays with the seasons. There are more sandwiches in winter/spring (while the polar bears are eating seals). And there are fewer sandwiches in summer/fall (when seals are not available).

    But scientists are concerned, because over the decades, the number of sandwiches is following a decreasing trend.

    The number of sandwiches is obviously getting smaller. Not every year, of course. It does so in fits and starts. But the long term pattern (the trend), is clear. Deny it, and you are a sandwich denier.

    A bitter argument has broken out, between the 2 scientists who have been monitoring sandwich numbers.

    Dr Anne Alarmist, insists that sandwich numbers are falling rapidly, and may fall to zero within 10 to 20 years.

    But her rival, Dr A Skeptic, claims that Dr Anne Alarmist is talking “poppycock”. Dr A Skeptic agrees that there is a decreasing trend, but claims that sandwiches will continue to be available, for at least 100 to 200 years.

    Each scientist has plotted a graph of sandwich numbers from 1980 to 2018.

    https://agree-to-disagree.com/one-sandwich-short-of-a-picnic

  13. Obviously they have not discovered an unlimited source of energy. Step 1: burn coal. Step 2: Create coal from CO2. Step 3: ??? Step 4: Profit.

    The only use I see for this is as a sort of energy storage, to make use of the waste energy from renewables…but even then, I’m sure there are more efficient ways to store energy out there.

  14. “That’s 1% efficient tops. And where is the lithium used as a catalyst going to come from in an industrial scale?”

    Re-cycled Tesla batteries? with power from wind and solar….

  15. Coal and other fossils fuels are the only true forms of renewable energy in any case. You dig them up, burn them and then they get reabsorbed into the earth and converted back to fossil fuels again. Discarded solar panels and wind turbines will always remain as useless trash.

  16. Solid carbon does not equal coal. It equals graphite.
    Coal is organic in origin, containing hydrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen in addition to carbon.
    Who made the claim this process produced coal?

    SR

    • Coal is mostly graphite. The other chemicals contained in it are not really necessary for burning it as fuel. Pure graphite would be much more desirable, so that is not the problem here. The problem is that the process of splitting CO2 into O2 and C requires more energy than you originally gained from burning the coal in the first place, so utterly pointless.

        • The problem with the process isn’t that you get elementary carbon instead of the mix of chemicals that is natural coal, but that you have to put in more energy than you originally retrieved from burning a fossil fuel. That was my point.

          Your quibbling over the naming of different types of carbon misses the point. In my chemistry class at school I learnt that there are two main types of carbon, and that the most prevalent one is graphite, including the one found in coal. Wikipedia doesn’t seem unanimous in this, there are some pages that agree with me and some that don’t. I have no axe to grind about naming conventions anyway because I wanted to talk about something else.

          • You may consider differentiating between a Ford and a Chevy, or a man and a woman to be “quibbling.” I think that they are important distinctions.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphite

            Note that graphite is not a sedimentary mineral, but is formed in metamorphic rocks with high temperatures and pressures. It will burn, but like diamond, only with difficulty, at high temperatures and preferably with excess oxygen.

    • Exactly. Its easy to loose sight of the obvious. Fortunately after we humans have messed up and left the trees will plant themselves

      • MarkB,
        “… and left the trees will plant themselves”
        Yep, until the CO2 runs out, because we are not here to put it back.

    • The linked article is dated March 1st. 31 days early.

      Let’s not get carried away with this process; it may start a new ice age.

  17. Burn C to make CO2, get energy out. That means C has a higher energy potential than CO2. To convert CO2 back to C you MUST input (more than) the same energy you got out. The team at RMIT are either fools or shysters.

  18. Why anyone wants to remove the minuscule quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere is beyond me, but if you want to do it cheaply and usefully just plant trees 🌳 🌲 🌳 . Time to bring back Arbor Day!

    • Or how? As in how many cubic meters of air need to be passed over the catalyst to get a cubic meter of coal? If you want, for whatever reason, to reduce co2 by 10%, won’t you need to process and remove all of the co2 from 10% of the atmosphere. That’s a lot of air to move over the catalyst, and a lot of time to do It!

  19. Assuming they can get this even remotely efficient, then why the hell would you bury it?
    It just represents a viable way of converting excess solar power that can’t be used sensibly during the day to stored energy.
    It is entirely renewable and does not add CO2 to the atmosphere while allowing it to be used in the bulk of the existing electricity generators. It’s a carbon battery, which unlike fossil fuels, is able to be charged electrically rather than by millions of years of geology.

  20. Physical chemistry 101
    Carbon + Oxygen = Carbon Dioxide
    Plus energy. Lots of energy.
    So, enough pseudo-scientific bullshit about liquid metal catalysts.
    You are going to have to put a lot MORE energy than you got out initially, back in, to drive that equation backwards.
    Anyone suggesting otherwise is a gold standard, weapons grade charlatan.

    • Gold is no longer gold. It’s still malleable, very much so, in fact warming can make things cooler, but I digress.

      Gold is now brown. And it smells.

  21. If any government feels the need to put carbon back in to the ground, because of society’s sin of using oil, gas or coal, why don’t they just bury trees in abandoned mines or something like that. Oh wait, too practical.

    In the same thought process: why ship wood from the USA to the UK to burn it there (shipped with oil burning ships, for heaven’s sake) instead of burying the trees in the USA and dig for coal or frack for gas in the UK. Not that I want them to do it, but THEY want to compensate for emissions. If you really want to, it can be done very easily.

  22. It’s a lot cheaper to build nukes.

    FULL ***ING stop.

    Then you can have as many renewable synthetic [hydro]carbons as you care to pay for the uraniumr.

  23. Anthony

    I visit you website frequently because you have many interesting articles, however, I have to filter out a lot of garbage, such as this.

    In this case you have copied a load of garbage from https://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/energy/item/31613-carbon-dioxide-the-newest-form-of-renewable-energy

    Rather than following the links to the original
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-08824-8

    That is still stupid, as it assumes that removing CO2 from the air is a good idea. But at least it gives a reasonably accurate description of what they did. And there is none of the stupid suggestion that this is an energy source.

    They claim that the as-produced solid carbonaceous materials could be utilised for the fabrication of high-performance capacitor electrodes. But give no information as to why it would be good for this application.

    Otherwise it is simply a method of expending electricity to damage life on earth.

    • However, the only reason this paper is published in Nature is because the authors link their findings to CO2 sequestration. It is interesting but hardly useful. If you want to make elemental carbon out of. CO2, just react cheap magnesium metal and dry ice. No need to use expensive cerium nanoparticles.

      Here is a YouTube showing the process:

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_xCbal2YyaE

      • No.

        The New American misinterprets an article in Nature as perpetual motion.

        Then Anthony reposts the misinterpretation here.

        • You know Bill, there is the possibility that this was posted here in a “Middleton-esque” fashion, i.e., as the subject of ridicule, just without the overt reference.

          • Why?

            All the article is proving is that one “journalist” working for a magazine I had not previously heard of is an idiot. Personally I assume that journalists are idiots until proved otherwise.

            If it is felt necessary to prove that, then include some comments to show that you know it is stupid. Also point out that RMIT University in Melbourne are not that stupid.

          • All the article is proving is that one “journalist” working for a magazine I had not previously heard of is an idiot.

            With respect, perhaps it’s just not always about you Bill?

            If it is felt necessary to prove that, then include some comments to show that you know it is stupid.

            Why?

            I didn’t need them.

  24. This is another ‘perpetuum mobile’, it will never be practical or economic, but the science is not always concerned with practical or economic, it is concerned with ideas, theoretical possibilities and discoveries; educated as a scientist I therefore salute their efforts.
    It is up to engineers to apply scientific discoveries and make them practical and economic.
    Trained an engineer too, my verdict is ‘the idea is the absolute bonkers’ .

  25. Not following this. Coal isn’t solid CO2, coal is solid C, you add O2 to burn it. Is this process removing the O2 from CO2 and making carbon coal or is the coal made of solid CO2?

    • Of course you remove the oxygen. Unfortunately this will consume as much energy as was created by burning the coal to CO2 in the first place, and then some (since no process is 100 % effective).

  26. Why do they want to kill practically everything on Earth?
    CO2 is Plant Food which is Animal Food.
    Utter Madness.

  27. The reversion to coal could happen near to a green energy source, a Utopia of wind and solar tended by our Green chums. We poor folk could slave away in the real world chained to our hum drum existence by our craving for cheap plentiful electricity. This is strangely reminiscent of the Golgafrinchams ploy to rid themselves of the useless third of their population. It could work.

  28. BTW, doesn’t simply planting a tree accomplish the exact same thing? Shouldn’t the Big Oil Companies simply be buying up large tracks of land and planting fast-growing bamboo forests, cutting them down and burying them or making homes out of them? Why is everyone making this “problem” so complicated? Big Oil can plant forests and give away the wood to sequester the CO2 in new homes…and save an absolute fortune in the process.

  29. Better yet, skip the Bamboo and grow hemp. That way you will get the libertarians on board.

  30. I have an even better, more reliable, and considerably less expensive way to reduce CO2 emissions.
    1 – Persuade every Greenbeaner and Warmunista you can find to buy and wear a rebreather set up 24/7/365, and no time off for good behavior. You can do this by informing them that when they exhale, they personally add 2.75 pounds of CO2 to the atmosphere, and they are very, very guilty of contributing to The Problem on a personal basis. But they have to pay for the rebreathers themselves.

    2 – Give all the Greenbeaners, Warmunistas, Algorebullians their own spot on the planet, with all the wind and solar equipment they want. Has to be an island with no means of escape. (Penguin colonies may object, but they can be termed ‘endangered species – do NOT touch’.) They have to pay for and/or grow their own food and other such things themselves. And no leaving The Island for a minimum of 10 years.

    Just want to see how truly dedicated they are, that’s all.

  31. Turning Carbon Di-Oxide into coal seems like a dumb idea. We already have a way of doing that, its a bit slower and it involves trees but while we’re waiting we get to enjoy the trees. The genius of this idea is the potential to go the other way electrolytically . The carbon oxygen bond has a lot of energy but we have only been able to get at that energy by burning it. No one has been able to make a room temperature carbon fuel cell. This may be a step in that direction.

  32. Turning CO2 into a solid to burn? We use CO2 to put fires out. Remove the Oxygen and you have a solid block of Carbon. Use the solid block of Carbon to make Carbon fiber. Harness the Oxygen for a controlled explosions. Can I get my government grant money with this idea?

  33. Why would you want to do this in the first place?
    More CO2 in the atmosphere at current levels is BENEFICIAL.
    You have to drink the “CO2 causes Global Climate Change” cool-aid before this makes any sense.

    This is akin to the practise of bleeding people.

  34. In principle any combustion product can be changed back into the fuel that produced it, only the energy budget of doing so is unlikely to be in your favour.

    The way around that is to create an abundant source of cheap energy. Thorium or fusion are the obvious candidates there. With such an energy source it also becomes possible to synthesize cleaner burning liquid fuels with lower pollution potential, for example alcohols. Existing IC engines could be modified to run on such fuels at low cost, compared to the replacement of the entire vehicle fleet with battery cars. Diesels might not even need any mods. Thus you solve the city pollution problem (if it is really a problem) as well.

  35. There are roughly ten million tons of carbon in the atmosphere (( 12478143744000 square inches of earth surface) x (14lbs/sq in) x (400 co2 molecules/million atmosphere molecules) x (12g/mole C/44g/mole co2 )).
    No, I didn’t confirm the surface area of the earth in sq in (I got it of the interweb). Yes this is a Q and D calculation. Estimated US coal reserves are 475billion tons.

    • You lost a bit in translation. The atmosphere contains 5×10^18 kg of air of which 0.04% is carbondioxide hence of which roughly 1 quarter is carbon, hence a fraction 0.00011. That makes about 5.5×10^14 kg of carbon, 5.5×10^11 metric tons. That is 550.000 million tons, not 10 million.

      • E J Zuiderwijk:

        Although the calculation is incorrect, the figure should be 550,000 million tons or 550 billion tons , not 550.000 million tons.

        CO2 is 0.04% by volume so that would be 44/29 of 0.04% =0.06% approx. (0.0607%) of the Atmosphere is CO2.

        Carbon would be 0.0166% of weight of Atmosphere.

  36. I’m not a scientist but has someone proved the minimum amount of energy required to remove co2 from air ? Not turning into coal, just removing it. Where is the cost ?

    • The price is to hold your breath.😉

      It’s being shrubbed from air by raindrops falling through. That’s why pure rainwater is slightly acidic. That one costs nothing. In industrial aplications where carbondioxide has to be removed it can be done by absorption in pure Calcium Oxide, quick lime, then to form calcium carbonate. Unfortunately the calcium oxide does not occur naturally, except in hot vulcanic ejecta, as it binds water in no time, so it has to be made from calcite by heating it, which releases, eh, carbondioxide and cost a lot of energy.

  37. Burning coal producing carbon dioxide and reversing the process by using some mysterious molten metal catalyst to reverse the process to produce coal seems like a unaffordable pipedream which most likely will be embraced by climate alarmists.

    • Totally unnecessary. The CO2 we are emitting is not only harmless, but beneficial. Plants love it. And coal is relatively cheap, so it’s win-win.

  38. Trees are better and cheaper at removing carbon from the air. They grow almost anywhere, are natural, good looking, don’t require nasty chemicals, provide great building materials, etc.

  39. To turn CO2 back into coal requires, at a minimum, adding the Gibbs free energy difference between CO2 and carbon. This is also the maximum availability that one frees when coal (more appropriately carbon) is burnt to CO2. One is simply running around in a shallow spiral here as there are other losses (irreversibilities) involved.

    Why the other CO2 sequestration schemes make marginally more sense than this one is that at a minimum they require only the energy needed to unmix the CO2 from the rest of the exhaust gases, and then compress it sufficient to force it into an underground reservoir.

    None of these schemes make much sense in reality because all we are doing is burning more coal in order to bury availability. Recall the article from a few weeks ago about making hydrogen gas from methane? That process would end up with enormous amounts of carbon as a by product, which I hope they would haul in trains back out to Wyoming to bury in reclaiming of coal mines. At some future when sanity returns, we could reopen those mines for pure carbon.

  40. Anthony: Move over wind farms. Step aside acres of solar panels.

    You are being facetious, right? It’s another way to take electricity from wind farms and solar panels to make fuel from CO2.

  41. Question is one of energy and of course politics.

    Does it take more energy to create the coal than is stored in the coal? It becomes a political question, do we spend resources on removing CO2 from the atmosphere. If we spend resources on removing CO2 from the atmosphere the question becomes is that necessary? If it is necessary, can this process economically remove enough CO2 to make a difference.

    Basic thermodynamics says energy is lost in each cycle. IMAO CO2 sequestration is not necessary. That no human artificial process could remove enough CO2 to make any noticeable changes to atmospheric CO2 levels.

    Therefore while interesting in a way, just another method of fleecing taxpayers in order to save the planet.

  42. Isn’t this about the 89th post on WUWT claiming that CO2 can be converted to fuel? Of course it can, but it takes more energy to do this than can be recovered. Not cost-efficient, ever, no way, no how.

    Please stop, makes your site look foolish. CO2 is what is produced by combustion/oxidation of carbon. Other products of oxidation are known as ashes, rust, water, sand, clinkers, etc… Are any of these fuel? Why, no they are NOT!!!

  43. Gee guys…let’s not get impatient. The first successful electric car was build circa 1890 and look how much progress has been made in only the last 130 years.

  44. Sounds like a great way to drive up the cost of electricity at the expense of the poorest consumers. The whole point of Carbon Taxes is to make human beings pay for the air they breathe and then give the money to bankers.

  45. There would be an irony indeed but it is not what the writer thinks. The irony would be that everything we know about endothermic and exothermic reactions, everything we know about thermodynamics and what we thought was the impossibility of making energy out of nothing, all that would turned out to be wrong, utterly wrong. We’ve been had for centuries.

    Somehow I think it is unlikely. Ok, call me pigheaded.

  46. Anthony publishes a story about a new source of energy – that has a negative COP. Yet refuses to publish anything on LENR You can now buy heat from Leonardo Corp’s E-Cat SK now, with delivery in weeks.

    A NEW SOURCE OF CLEAN, CHEAP ENERGY IS NOW AVAILABLE
    By Adrian Ashfield

    Interest in LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions aka Cold Fusion) was started by Fleischmann and Pons in 1989. Early efforts to replicate their results failed, getting the subject a bad reputation. Although it was later replicated a hundred times, the damage had been done. See https://lenr-canr.org/ for hundreds of scientific papers proving LENR is real.

    Dr. Rossi and his E-Cats
    Andrea Rossi started experimenting in LENR using nickel and hydrogen in 1996. Meeting with some success, he teamed with Dr. Focardi in Italy. Dr. Rossi developed a number of different reactors that were shown publicly. These prototypes were hard to control and took hours to start up.

    The breakthrough came with the fourth generation E-Cat QX (Energy Catalyzer), which I described in the Delco Times at the end of 2017. This tiny device, the size of your little finger, produced 5 kW of heat and started up immediately, using a plasma for the first time. Those interested in the details should read technical reporter Mats Lewan’s excellent book “An Impossible Invention.”

    This past year Dr. Rossi and his team have worked hard to develop three industrial versions called E-Cat SK5, SK20 & SK100. The SK5 and SK20 were developed as industrial versions, while the SK100 (100 kW) is still in R & D. Sometime in 2019 he settled on the SK20 as his first production reactor and has built a factory to mass produce them.

    What is LENR?
    LENR is a nuclear reaction of a different kind than fission or fusion. It has a very high energy density well above any chemical reaction, doesn’t use radioactive materials nor produce ionizing radiation. The core temperature of the SK is around 8,000 degC . The heat is transferred by electromagnetic waves, with a frequency above ultra-violet light, mainly in the range of 300 to 350 nanometers. It uses common elements like nickel, hydrogen and lithium as fuel. Depending on the heat exchanger, it can provide heat up to 550 degC. It only requires refueling with a few grams of material once a year.

    Live demonstration by video on Jan31, 2019
    Dr. Rossi unveiled the SK20 reactor as a sealed blue box that was heating a plant of around 3,000 square feet. That had been in operation since Nov 19. The demo showed the SK20 working and was followed by some two hours of questions and answers. Having had throat surgery recently, his voice was a little hard to understand at times.

    All the main parameters were given. The size of the SK20 reactor itself is only 4” in diameter by 4” long. The output was 21.9 kW of heat. The control panel used 380 W, most of which was recovered. The COP (coefficient of performance) was 57. This calculated value was confirmed by looking at the energy required to heat the building.

    Rossi’s business strategy is to sell metered heat at 80% of the cost of any other fuel. That way the customer does not have to pay for the reactor and Leonardo can better protect their intellectual property. Fraud is very unlikely as the customer would know how much heat he is receiving.

    Conclusions
    The SK20 is available now from info@LeonardoCorp1996.com, with a delivery time of a few weeks, depending on the application. Dr. Rossi thinks his initial customers will be in agriculture. He is also working on a LENR powered turbine with a company in Japan that should provide the best way to get electricity.
    If things work out as expected, LENR may also power things like ships and trains. Automobiles will take at least a decade to develop. But LENR should replace most fossil fuels in two decades and end the concern of global warming.
    This may well be the start of a new era of plentiful clean energy.

    • This would not be the first time Dr. Rossi has announced the introduction of industrial models, shortly.

      • No it isn’t. He had control problems with previous models.
        This is the first commercial version that is actually working.
        one that you can rent for heat. Unlike previous models this has been tested for a year.

        • If you want 1 MW of heat you can order it now.
          Rossi is installing 42 MW for an early client.

          • Adrian Asjfield: Rossi is installing 42 MW for an early client.

            Don’t neglect to tell us how it turns out.

          • Adrian Asjfield: If you want 1 MW of heat you can order it now.

            Units are out there, powering irrigation pumps, refrigeration units, casino power supplies? Lots of satisfied customers.

            Two years from now Rossi will be installing 120MW for an early client, and there will not be any 42 MW units in operation. That’s my prediction. I check this field out at least annually. Do keep us informed.

    • Adrian Asjfield: If things work out as expected, LENR may also power things like ships and trains.

      This is a regular announcement, repeated annually or biennially. Let us know when a free-standing engine is actually powering something.

      • As the output of the SK reactor can be as high as 500C it should be possible to run a steam turbine.
        The better solution is a LENR turbine. Rossi is working with a Japanese company to make one, but it is years away.

    • One problem with your story is where you said “Early efforts to replicate their results failed”–the group commissioned to investigate the claims of Pons and Fleischmann had a vested interest in scuttling it because a $Billion in research money was being sought for the tokamak fusion process at about the same time! Talk about industrial espionage!! Had LENR been shown to have promise, a $Billion would have been denied some very entrenched research groups that decided to simply lie to preserve their funding!!

      • The tests were run by MIT and Caltec hot fusion scientists.
        It is now understood that they failed to load the Palladium with sufficient Deuterium in their haste.
        DOE’s scientists lied to Congress about ITER, claiming a COP of 10 when in fact it is only 1.3 (ref Krivit) This is not enough for commercial use.

        • Adrian Asjfield: The tests were run by MIT and Caltec hot fusion scientists.

          No one has ever demonstrated that one of these devices can produce more power than is consumed at startup (beyond measurement error), or that one has produced gamma radiation above natural background radiation longer than can be expected by chance.

    • I’m afraid this is nonsense. A device of 4″ by 4″ diameter has a surfacecarea of at most 500 cm square. For it to produce 22kW on a continues basis (how long exactly?) Will run at a temperature of a few hundred degrees. In fact, it may be so hot that it melts. You have been taken in and believe in a fairy tale.

      • You should try to understand the design before commenting.
        The SK is a plasma operating at ~10,000C mainly with a radiation at 350 nanometers, in a transparent tube. The energy is collected by the heat exchanger.

  47. This whole concept makes AOC’s Green New Deal look like an Einstein treatise by comparison! Planning for carbon sequestration is a monumental blunder unless the perpetrator’s goal is to impose genocide on a global scale! How about we just let the Earth green up from more available carbon?? Isn’t that the goal of classical environmentalism–the expansion and improved vitality of ecosystems?! Believe me, that will never happen if carbon is pulled out of the atmosphere and buried, never to be seen again!!

    • Ok, I’ve come to my senses! I now recognize this as a great government-run jobs-creating program implemented primarilyto keep coal miners employed, among others! The synthetic coal resulting from this process will be burried in appropriate locations on BLM land where mining companies can compete for mining leases and the synthetic coal can be mined again, shipped to coal-fired power plants again, after which the CO2 released to the atmosphere can be harvested again, fabricated into synthetic coal again, and deposited yet again for eventual mining!!! Every step in this perpetual cycle will employ thousands of workers, many ancillary businesses and industries, resulting in expanding taxes, and voters who support politicians that favor this Coal New Deal in perpetuity! Why, this is making much more sense than banning airplanes, eliminating farting cows, and stopping fossil fuel production, along with reconstructing all buildings in our country! Wouldn’t you agree?

  48. I get it . An early April fools joke .
    It does underscore the relationship between coal and CO2 . Yes lets eliminate natures plant food so the climate doesn’t change .
    I propose that before people like AOC spout off about spending $trillions of dollars the
    USA does not have these people should have to take and pass a Grade 9 science test .
    OK for M Waters , native Indian impersonator Warren and most of the MSM Grade 3 will do .
    Are these politicians all smashed ? Some committee is going to pretend to set the earths temperature ?

  49. “…turning carbon dioxide back into coal and burying it back in the ground is a bit like…”insanity.

  50. Wouldn’t it be helpful if 30,000 scientists were survey’d and asked to
    rank various factors greater to least that determine the earths climate .
    So for example :
    The sun
    The clouds
    Ocean currents
    Volcano activity
    Cow farts

  51. Yeah, there’s definitely energy balance issues with process, but it’s a step forward. Baby steps.

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