Yale grads making methanol with water and carbon dioxide!!!!!!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Energy' started by evenflow1969, Nov 28, 2019.

  1. Bob Blaylock
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    Bob Blaylock Gold Member

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    Let's see if I can put this in a way that you can understand.

    Let us consider a simpler reaction.

    Pure carbon contains a certain amount of energy that can be released by burning it. You have a lump of coal, which you set on fire.

    Each carbon atom combines with two oxygen atoms, producing carbon dioxide. This reaction releases energy in the form of heat.

    To separate the carbon from the oxygen, you have to put energy into that reaction. It takes the same amount of energy to separate that one atom of carbon from the two atoms of oxygen, that was given off when they were combined in the first place. There is no free lunch, here. There is no way to separate that carbon atom from the two oxygen atoms, that doesn't need as much energy to accomplish, as what was given off when that carbon and oxygen combined.

    If everything was 100% efficient (which nothing ever is) then you could separate carbon dioxide into carbon and oxygen by putting in the same amount of energy that you can then get by burning that carbon, combining it with oxygen. But some energy is always lost at each end of the reaction, so in reality, you need to put in more energy.

    You, of course, are positing a more complex reaction, involving more complex chemicals, but the principle is the same. You cannot produce higher-energy chemicals from lower-energy chemicals, without putting in enough energy to make up the difference.
     
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  2. ReinyDays
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    ReinyDays Senior Member

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    Generally, we start with plant sugars when making simple alcohols ... the sugar molecule holds more energy than the alcohol that we split off of it which solves all the nasty energy problems ... plus we have little machines to do this called yeast ...
     
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  3. Bob Blaylock
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    Bob Blaylock Gold Member

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    It's notable, of course, that we lose a fair amount of energy in the process, but it's worth it because in many applications, it is easier to use the energy contained in alcohol than to use the energy contained in sugar.

    I don't think you can burn sugar in an internal combustion engine, for example, as my “Flex Fuel” automobile burns E85.

    For that matter, that is also what makes petroleum so valuable. We put a huge amount of money, energy, and other resources into finding petroleum, drilling for it, removing it from the ground, and processing it. But petroleum contains so much energy that even after all that we put into all of that, and even after the energy that is lost in those processes, we get products that we can burn to get enough energy back to more than cover the costs of obtaining those products.
     
  4. ReinyDays
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    ReinyDays Senior Member

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    We can burn sugar to power a bicycle ... or am I just being a liberal again? ... sorry ...
     

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