New Energy Source

Researchers have found an inexpensive, easy way to make ethanol from carbon dioxide, thereby accomplishing four goals at once:  the process removes carbon dioxide and converts it in one step to ethanol by using common materials that can be scaled up for industrial applications, saving (1) money and (2) the environment, and (3) providing a useful fuel as well as (4) a means of storing energy produced by wind and solar.  The energy available from wind and solar is dependent on the vagaries of weather, so the ability to store energy generated by this means extends their usefulness.  The production of ethanol is also a boon as its use does not contribute to pollution as fossil fuels do.  The affordability of the process is also beneficial, as more people will be willing and able to implement this process.

This miraculous process relies on nanotechnology to structure the catalyst that converts carbon dioxide to ethanol.  This structure prevents other reactions from happening and allows the one desirable result to occur in a single step and with little cost.  For a full description of the work that was done and the results, please refer to this article.  For a more general overview of the work, please see this article from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where the heroes work who accomplished this.

This is glorious good news that brings hope for the possibility of a cleaner future. 

I believe science can lead us to find answers to most of our problems, and enable us to live harmoniously and sustainably on our planet.  Yes, life is hard and many people suffer.  Other life forms suffer, too, and will continue to suffer until we can progress far enough to achieve the sustainable lifestyle that will end the pollution, climate change, and environmental degradation that plague us now.  Although we cannot all be scientists, we all can work to achieve this end in our daily lives, by volunteering with environmental groups, living sustainably in our personal lives, and not participating in the general consumerism that contributes so much to the problem, for example.  There are many ways we can promote change in our society, and we should avail ourselves of as many avenues to do this as we can.  Clearly, simply finding and developing new technology is not enough; we must have the political will to implement the necessary changes that support the use of the new technology.  We must be willing to change, to give up some of our comfort and move ahead to an even better place.  Our contemplative practice helps us to take the perspective necessary to tolerate the transitional times that come before the changes are complete.  Our contemplative practice and the support of our communities give us the strength to carry us through to the better days that I am sure are coming.


Copyright © 2016 Teresa Chupp.  All rights reserved.


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