A group of researchers has succeeded in converting methane into methanol using light and dispersed transition metals such as copper in a process known as photo-oxidation.
According to an article reporting the study published in Chemical Communications, the reaction was the best obtained to date for conversion of methane gas into liquid fuel under ambient conditions of temperature and pressure (25 °C and 1 bar respectively).
The term bar as a unit of pressure derives from the Greek word for weight (baros). One bar is equivalent to 100,000 Pascals (100 kPa), which is very close to the standard atmospheric pressure at sea level (101,325 Pa).
The results of the study are an important step in making natural gas available as an energy source for the production of alternative fuels to gasoline and diesel. Although natural gas is considered a fossil fuel, its conversion into methanol emits less carbon dioxide (CO2) than other liquid fuels in the same category.
In Brazil, methanol plays a key role in biodiesel production and in the chemical industry, which uses it to synthesize many products.
Furthermore, methane capture from the atmosphere is crucial to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change, as the gas has 25 times the potential of CO2, for example, to contribute to global warming.Tags: Biodiesel, Liquid Methane, Methane Gas, Methanol, Photo-Oxidation