A novel paradigm in greenhouse gas mitigation



The ultimate chemical fate of the conventional fossil fuel combustion is always CO2 and H2O, two well-known greenhouse gases responsible for contributing considerably to the global warming. We propose a radically new concept where CO2 and H2O are converted into carbon monoxide and hydrogen (individually) at one hand and into syngas (if present together; a more likely scenario) under mild experimental conditions. The products then become practical feeds for generating clean electric power via solid oxide fuel cells. Syngas is also an ideal precursor for the manufacturing of scores of valuable organic compounds, including synthetic fuels by Fischer–Tropsch process. Thus, the technique promotes beneficiation rather than sequestration and storage—currently the most widely accepted option for addressing the issue of mitigating the CO2-related greenhouse gas emission. The process uses either a ferrous metal or its oxide for the target-specific conversion. In addition to being inexpensive and readily available commodities, the oxide, in particular, happens to be an industrial waste as well; most of it is landfill destined. Furthermore, the two greenhouse gases are reduced into ready-to-use fuel precursors, and the solid reactants are transformed into a component from which ceramic magnets (ferrites) could be manufactured. Thus, the concept is innovative because it not only creates valuable clean energy precursors, but it does so while reducing the impact of yet another industrial and ecological pollutant. © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 2010