I just LOVE this super happy announcement in Time magazine. Yep, those genius scientists (actually chemists.... kind of like me) have figured out how to use some exotic catalysts to turn CO2 into CH3CH2OH (ethanol), isn't that great? So they can capture to kilotons of CO2 coming out of a power plant burning oil, coal, or gas, and yield kilotons of alcohol. What a deal!
Ahem..... pardon me, but perhaps you notice that CO2 only has carbon and oxygen atoms in it, while the alcohol has those H things too. Those are hydrogen atoms. Hmm... where do they come from? Well from water, good old H20. When you burn alcohol you get CO2 and H2O, so they have essentially reversed combustion. Sounds great, yes?
The only thing is that combustion occurs because alcohol and oxygen contain more energy than CO2 and water, so it's a natural reaction liberating energy. Duhhh... but this means to reverse it means you have to SUPPLY energy. Where is that coming from?
They mention that then the tons of alcohol can be used as an energy buffer for the plant. How would that work? Well.... by burning the alcohol of course. Liberating what.... oh yeah, water and CO2.
So the net result is using up energy to convert the CO2 into alcohol, and then burning the alcohol (where you only capture part of the energy back) later for energy. So you will spend energy to make the alcohol in the first place, and not get all the energy back when you burn it. Which means you just use up energy and don't really come out ahead at all.
It's parallel to the idiocy of ethanol in gasoline, where you get less energy back than it took to grow the corn and convert it to alcohol.
Apparently that virus that makes reporters, politicians, and others stupid has been spreading like mad.