New technique turns carbon dioxide into jet fuel

As the aviation industry seeks to shrink its environmental footprint, a new development from Oxford University may just help airline companies reach their carbon-reduction goals.

The new technology involves an experimental process that can turn carbon dioxide into jet fuel. If successful, it could help airplanes reduce their massive impact on the environment, both by helping prevent CO2 pollution by feeding emissions into the system and by cleaning the production process of jet fuel.

So far, the scientists tested the process in a laboratory, where the carbon dioxide came from a canister. But the idea is to eventually capture large amounts of the greenhouse gas from either a factory or directly from the atmosphere in order to remove it from the environment.

“Climate change is accelerating, and we have huge carbon dioxide emissions,” said study co-author and Oxford chemist Tiancun Xiao. “The infrastructure of hydrocarbon fuels is already there. This process could help relieve climate change and use the current carbon infrastructure for sustainable development.”

The authors are currently working on scaling up the system so that it proves its potential outside the laboratory. If this is achieved, the new technology could serve as a temporary solution as we transition to greener technologies.

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