So, where’s your fuel coming from next? Out of thin air. Scientists around the country continue to innovate new fuels that reduce dependence on petroleum and improve air quality. And this development caught our attention.
As quoted in a recent Ethanol Producer magazine article, Matthew Kanan, an assistant professor of chemistry at Stanford and coauthor of the ethanol study says, “we have discovered the first metal catalyst that can produce appreciable amounts of ethanol from carbon monoxide at room temperature and pressure – a notoriously difficult electrochemical reaction.”
Unlike current ethanol production, this method does not require fermentation of biomass, typically corn, sugarcane or other starchy crops. The technique is similar to a process that reduces water into hydrogen—but in this case, reducing carbon monoxide into liquid ethanol.
While petroleum will only get more difficult to find and more costly to produce in the future, alternative fuel sources will increase, improving upon existing renewable fuel methods and inventing new and diverse sources.