A project to convert carbon dioxide into fuel

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The emission of greenhouse gases, and particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), is one of the main causes of climate change, which includes not only global warming but also changes in precipitation, winds and the level of the sea. Even so, today it is emitted in large quantities in various industrial processes and many plants still do not have associated technologies that can capture and store it to avoid the negative effects of its release into the atmosphere.

In this sense, it is essential to develop technologies that allow CO2 to be captured and converted on site into a value-added product. CONICET researcher Guillermina Amica was recognized with the L’Oréal-UNESCO Scholarship “For Women in Science” 2022, for a project that aims to capture residual CO2 and convert it into synthetic natural gas in a single energy-efficient process, through use of hydride-forming materials.

Hydride-forming materials are solid matrices that can store hydrogen inside them in a compact and reversible way. That it is reversible means that, depending on the pressure and temperature conditions, these materials will retain hydrogen for safe storage and transport, or they will be able to release it to be converted into energy in fuel cells or used in other processes, such as the transformation of CO2 into fuels.

“The project seeks to somehow integrate the hydrogen and CO2 cycles. Hydrogen is a very interesting energy vector, with a high energy content per unit mass, and hydride-forming materials are an alternative for storing and transporting it safely and efficiently,” explains Amica, who works in the Physicochemistry group. of Materials of the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) at the Bariloche Atomic Center (CAB).

“It is a great emotion to have received this award, which is so important for all women who dedicate ourselves to research, because it puts women at the center of the scene and recognizes their role in science in particular, but also in society in general”, says Amica in dialogue with the CONICET press.

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