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The energy is the issue.Oxidizing hydrocarbons is used to produce energy (which is why we use coal and natural gas, and gasoline, and etc). It would take energy to reverse the process.There have been proposals to essentially just burn the hydrogen, and leave a type of concentrated carbon/coke. But, that would would essentially only utilize about half of the energy from the fuel. It still might be worth considering. The carbon could then be easily buried with the intention of keeping it away from biological organisms that might break it down and eventually create CO2.Plants, of course, do just what you're proposing. Using photosynthesis, they use solar energy to produce hydrocarbons from the carbon dioxide (and other nutrients). The "and other nutrients" could potentially be a problem in the future. If we utilize fossil fuels, then we overwhelm the natural ability to absorb CO2 by putting long sequestered carbon into the atmosphere. Biofuels are a cycle, of burning the biofuels, then having plants reabsorb the CO2, to be burnt again. Unfortunately there is concern whether we truly have the capacity to grow all the biofuels we require as well as growing all the food we require. There is also the concern about the environmental impact of fertilizers that are used to grow food and biofuels.The USA is predicting a corn shortage this summer, and there are questions about reducing the corn derived alcohol that is being diverted into fuel.A gradual reduction in global population would reduce the food/fuel pressure.
Yes and no. A catalyst as you know, is not really consumed necessarily, oxygen is a catalyst, and platinum is a catalyst.
Quote from: William McCormick on 17/08/2012 00:39:08Yes and no. A catalyst as you know, is not really consumed necessarily, oxygen is a catalyst, and platinum is a catalyst. In the case of petroleum fuels, oxygen is used as an oxidizer (appropriately named). It is not a catalyst, and it IS consumed.Thus, hydrocarbons are oxidized to form carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O).Some gasifiers are run in oxygen-free environments.