Over the past decade, there has been extensive research on creating both biofuels and alternative forms of energy. Up until now, biofuels, which are derived from our food source, have been the front runner as the most feasible option. It is not because we cannot artificially convert CO2 and other forms of energy into carbon fuels, which then can be refined into ethanol and other fuels, but simply because biofuels have been the most efficient alternative source due to the fact that they consume the least amount of energy while being created. Well, that may all come to a change now due to the work by University of Illinois Prof. Paul Kenis along with his colleagues at the start-up Dioxide Materials in Research Park. In short, they have found a new and innovative way to artificially photosynthesize carbon fuels, which can be refined into ethanol and other fuels, while using a much smaller amount of energy than previous methods. They utilized a novel ionic liquid to catalyze the reaction. This technology has tremendous potential if it can be done a larger scale due to the fact that our alternative forms of energy will be able to be derived artifically rather than from our food source. More importantly, technology at UIUC is once again changing our world one step at a time.
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By: Chris DeLetto
B. A. Rosen, A. Salehi-Khojin, M. R. Thorson, W. Zhu, D. T. Whipple, P. J. A. Kenis, R. I. Masel. Ionic Liquid-Mediated Selective Conversion of CO2 to CO at Low Overpotentials. Science, 2011; DOI:10.1126/science.1209786