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Gizmorama - November 23, 2016

Good Morning,

Here's some good news in the quest for alternative energy. Scientists have found a way to turn H2 and CO2 into usable biofuel. What a gas!

Learn about this and more interesting stories from the scientific community in today's issue.

Until Next Time,

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*-- Scientists find way to turn waste gas into biofuel --*

ULSAN, South Korea - Researchers have developed a new way to turn captured CO2 into liquid biofuel capable of powering vehicles.

Scientists have previously converted H2 and CO2 into usable fuel, but the catalysts required are weak and the conversion process leaves plenty of CO2 leftover. Chemical engineers at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, in South Korea, have discovered a more effective catalyst.

The new catalyst is derived from delafossite, an abundant copper iron oxide mineral. Adoption of the catalyst allowed scientist to convert CO2 and H2 into fuel in a single step.

"Diesel fuels have longer chain of carbon and hydrogen atoms, compared to mathanol and methane," researcher Yo Han Choi said in a news release. "Using delafossite-CuFeO2 as the catalyst precursor, we can create longer carbon chains and this would allow for the production of diesel."

Researchers derived their new conversion process from one developed by German carmaker Audi, and improves on a process called CO Fisher-Tropsch synthesis.

Scientists say the new process can be used to clean the air and provide alternative fuel. The CO2 can be provided by carbon capture technologies, while H2 can be sourced from solar water splitting waste.

"We believe the new catalyst breaks through the limitation of CO2-based FT synthesis and will open the avenue for new opportunity for recycling CO2 into valuable fuels and chemicals," said UNIST chemical engineer Jae Sung Lee.

Researchers detailed their newly developed process in the journal Applied Catalysis B.

* Breakthrough may pave way for safer radioactive waste cleanup *

MANCHESTER, England - Scientists in England have developed a new technique for sniffing out and removing radioactive cesium and strontium isotopes from nuclear reactor components.

The latest breakthrough involved the examination of a concrete core from a cooling pond at a former nuclear power station in Ayrshire, England.

Scientists analyzed the core, which was coated and painted, and found the strontium isotopes had bonded with titanium oxide molecules found in the paint's white pigment.

The core's coating did its job of sealing out radioactive contaminants from the concrete beneath, but researchers conducted experiments to better understand how cesium and strontium isotopes would behave should a coating be breached. They determined strontium would cling to binding materials while cesium would bond with clays and iron oxides found in the concrete's rock fragments.

The analysis was carried out at Diamond Light Source, the United Kingdom's national synchrotron science facility.

"This work shows the power of the techniques available at the Diamond synchrotron to meet the challenge of cleaning up our nuclear legacy and the university is working very closely with Diamond to develop facilities to support research across the whole of the nuclear industry," Richard Pattrick, a researcher with the University of Manchester's Dalton Nuclear Institute, said in a news release.

Scientists hope their work will make future nuclear waste disposal and cleanup efforts more effective and significantly cheaper.

Researchers detailed their analysis of the concrete core in the Journal of Hazardous Materials.


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