Rewind CO2 to Coal
“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.”
One of the great problems with discussions around the subject of climate change is that it is a scientific issue, whereas the majority of people who comment on it do not understand the basic science. For example, one question sometimes posed is this: Why can't we turn the carbon dioxide made by burning carbon back into carbon so that it can be recycled?
While it is possible to turn carbon dioxide into carbon, it is important to remember that this process requires the addition of energy – in fact, exactly the same amount of energy that was obtained by burning the carbon in the first place! There would actually be a net energy loss. One reason for this is that both forward and backward reactions require activation energies – energy that must be used in order to start the reaction going.
However, a recent study has found a method that might be of use. The activation energy has been cut considerably by choosing a well-researched catalyst. Although there is no way to remove the energy input requirement, the reported method produces a form of carbon which has the properties of a super-capacitor, therefore making the process financially rewarding, if not energetically rewarding. While there is no convincing scientific evidence for the supposed danger of carbon dioxide, there is much to be gained by such a well-designed process, producing a valuable and useful commodity.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the intelligence of scientific researchers, who are making strides in discovering more about Your world. Amen.
Ref: Dorna Esrafilzadeh et al. Room temperature CO2 reduction to solid carbon species on liquid metals featuring atomically thin ceria interfaces. Nature Communications, volume 10, Article number: 865 (2019).