(Time) A team of scientists in Tennessee accidentally discovered a new method to convert carbon dioxide to ethanol, a finding that could aid the development of new methods to fight climate change.
The finding comes from a group of scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) who created a catalyst out of carbon, copper and nitrogen. Scientists added the catalyst and voltage to carbon dioxide to create ethanol. ORNL researcher Adam Rondinone, the study’s lead author, describes the discovery as “pushing [the] combustion reaction backwards.”
“By using common materials, but arranging them with nanotechnology, we figured out how to limit the side reactions and end up with the one thing that we want,” said Rondinone in a press release.
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