Scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have stumbled upon a chemical reaction that turns CO2 into ethanol, which could create a new technology to help avert climate change.
They were looking for a series of chemical reactions that could turn CO2 into a useful fuel, when they realized the first step in their process managed to do it all by itself.
The reaction turns CO2 into ethanol, which could be used to power everyday tools, such as generators and vehicles, Popular Mechanics reported.
So, how does it work?
"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 Dr. Adam Rondinone.
This process has several advantages compared to other methods of converting CO2 into fuel.
The reaction uses common materials like copper and carbon, and it converts the CO2 into ethanol, which is already widely used as a fuel.
WATCH | Video from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory explains the process.
What's next for these researchers?
It also works at room temperature, which means that it can be started and stopped easily and with little energy cost.
The researchers plan to further study this process and try and make it more efficient.
If they're successful, we just might see large-scale carbon capture using this technique in the near future.
WATCH | For the news you need, check out our 60 Second Circa.