Renewable CO2 recycling and synthetic fuel production in a marine environment
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2019, 116 (25), 12212-12219. 10.1073/pnas.1902335116
Humankind must cease CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning if dangerous climate change is to be avoided. However, liquid carbon-based energy carriers are often without practical alternatives for vital mobility applications. The recycling of atmospheric CO2 into synthetic fuels, using renewable energy, offers an energy concept with no net CO2 emission. We propose to implement, on a large scale, marine-based artificial islands, on which solar or wind energy powers the production of hydrogen and the extraction of CO2 from seawater and where these gases are catalytically reacted to yield liquid methanol fuel. The present work proposes specifications for such facilities and highlights essential challenges in physics, chemistry, and engineering which must be met to realize this ambitious proposal.