Researcher proposes recycling, rather than removing CO2 emissions

While scientists and engineers race to find new forms of green energy, strategies to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in the meantime fall into two categories: decreasing the demand for fossil fuels or capturing and storing the gas.

But what if CO2 could be recycled into fuel for reuse? It would mean that fossil fuels could be used with little increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

Conversion of the gas won’t be easy, but researcher Ying Li at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) has hit on a process that will work – if he can perfect a nanomaterial with exactly the right properties.

That is the goal of Li, an assistant professor of engineering and the latest UWM faculty member to be awarded a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2013. Li will use the $400,000 award to improve the efficiency of a nanomaterial he engineered that could make CO2 recycling scalable.