Drawing on two of these approaches, researchers in the laboratory of Andrew Bocarsly, a Princeton professor of chemistry, collaborated with start-up company Liquid Light Inc. of Monmouth Junction, N.J. to devise an efficient method for harnessing sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into a potential alternative fuel known as formic acid.
The study was published June 13 in the Journal of CO2 Utilization
The transformation from carbon dioxide and water to formic acid was powered by a commercial solar panel generously provided by the energy company PSE&G that can be found atop electric poles across the state.
The process takes place inside an electrochemical cell, which consists of metal plates the size of rectangular lunch-boxes that enclose liquid-carrying channels.
To maximize the efficiency of the system, the amount of power produced by the solar panel must match the amount of power the electrochemical cell can handle, said Bocarsly
This optimization process is called impedance matching.
Using waste carbon dioxide and easily obtained machined parts, this approach offers a promising route to a renewable fuel, Bocarsly
Read the full article here:
White, J. L.; Herb, J. T.; Kaczur, J. J.; Majsztrik, P. W.; Bocarsly
, A. B. "Photons to formate: Efficient electrochemical solar energy conversion via reduction of carbon dioxide.
Journal of CO2 Utilization
Available online June 13, 2014.