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kemisage t1_j66dadl wrote

It has become tiring to see/read comments on posts like this. It's nearly always by people with little to no knowledge of chemistry and chemical engineering and/or the reality of the green energy economy.

One of the top comments is usually something in the realm of "plant trees, use solar/wind, no need for carbon, etc."

No, you can't just plant tress and avoid technologies like the one proposed in the article. Find a way to electrify everything and produce all the chemicals we need without using carbon. Then we can talk about eliminating carbon from our lives.

The idea presented in the article is actually not really new. They just went a bit dramatic with their advertisement. The group of Heldebrandt themselves (the ones discussed in the OP) have published many articles on this topic, and others have too. I am yet to fully read the actual journal article they published, but the likely cause of this popular science article is higher efficiency in converting the captured CO2 to methanol.

If their idea goes through more testing at increasing scales, then it could be implemented in the industry. Right now the commercial route to produce blue (fossil hydrogen + natural gas + carbon capture) or green (renewable hydrogen + carbon capture) methanol from CO2 is an indirect route of first converting CO2 to something called a synthesis gas and then converting the synthesis gas to methanol. If the intermediate step can be eliminated, it would lead to better energy efficiency and economics.