UK scientists make methane from air
Scientists at Cardiff University, UK have created methanol from methane using oxygen from the air. Researchers at Cardiff Catalysis Institute have discovered they can produce methanol from methane through simple catalysis that allows methanol production at low temperatures using oxygen and hydrogen peroxide.
The findings, published in Science, have major implications for cleaner, greener industrial processes worldwide. Professor Graham Hutchings, Director of Cardiff Catalysis Institute, said, “The quest to find a more efficient way of producing methanol is a hundred years old. Our process uses oxygen – effectively a ‘free’ product in the air around us – and combines it with hydrogen peroxide at mild temperatures which require less energy.
“At present global natural gas production is ca. 2.4 billion tons per annum and 4% of this is flared into the atmosphere - roughly 100 million tons. Cardiff Catalysis Institute’s approach to using natural gas could use this “waste” gas saving CO emissions. In the US there is
2 now a switch to shale gas, and our approach is well suited to using this gas as it can enable it to be liquefied so it can be readily transported,” he added.
Dr. James J. Spivey, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Louisiana State University and Editorin-Chief of Catalysis Today, said, “This research is of significant value to the scientific and industrial communities. The conversion of our shale resources into higher value intermediates like methanol provides new routes for chemical intermediates.”