President Obama Highlights Caltech Energy Research

In last night's State of the Union Address, President Obama plugged an effort at Pasadena's California Institute of Technology to develop a way to convert solar energy, carbon dioxide, and water into fuel. The reference, which Obama described as "a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars," appears to be a reference to research just announced this month from Dr. Sossina Haile at Caltech, a professor of materials science and chemical engineering, which uses the metal cerium oxide to convert carbon dioxide and water into hydrogen and carbon monoxide -- both of which can be used as fuel. Hydrogen is used for hydrogen fuel cells, and carbon dioxide is combined with hydrogen to create syngas, which is a precursor to liquid hydrocarbon fuels. According to Caltech earlier this month, description of the new reactor technology developed by Haile's lab was published in the December 23rd issue of Science. The technology has the possibility of creating electricity producing power plants which could provide "zero CO2 emissions" power plants. (Image: ETH-Caltech reactor)


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