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Thread: Could this device sucessfully break apart carbon dioxide?

  1. #1 Could this device sucessfully break apart carbon dioxide? 
    Forum Junior mmatt9876's Avatar
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    I was thinking it might be possible to break apart the carbon dioxide molecule using laser light. The idea would be to pump the molecules single file through a tiny tube into a laser collision cell. In the cell the appropriate laser light could impact the molecule and hopefully break it apart. The oxygen and carbon atoms could then be blasted out by the laser through more tiny tubes into their respective containers.


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    Forum Ph.D. Leszek Luchowski's Avatar
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    If your purpose is to reduce the greenhouse effect, then the problem is that your process will use more energy than was obtained by burning fuels in the first place (which produced the CO2).

    If you have a clean energy source to power your device, you could just as well offer that energy as a replacement for burning fossil fuels. That would probably be much more efficient.


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    Forum Junior mmatt9876's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leszek Luchowski
    If your purpose is to reduce the greenhouse effect, then the problem is that your process will use more energy than was obtained by burning fuels in the first place (which produced the CO2).

    If you have a clean energy source to power your device, you could just as well offer that energy as a replacement for burning fossil fuels. That would probably be much more efficient.
    I was hoping the device could be powered cleanly and low energy, like by a few solar panels. I was not very sure how much energy it would take to break apart a single carbon dioxide molecule.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Ph.D. Leszek Luchowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876
    I was not very sure how much energy it would take to break apart a single carbon dioxide molecule.
    At least as much as was gained by burning the carbon. Otherwise, we'd be getting free energy by burning the carbon in oxygen, splitting the CO2 back into carbon and oxygen, burning the carbon again...
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  6. #5  
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    It takes 1660 Kilojoules of energy to break apart a water molecule. It takes more to break apart a carbon dioxide molecule because when you remove the first oxygen atom from the CO2, the remaining oxygen atom triple bonds to the carbon. there are now three electrons being shared between the carbon and oxygen. Hydrogen only has one electron and two available electron slots, so it can not form a triple bond. In photosynthesis plants use photons(light) to knock electrons out of their shell to travel down the chlorophyll to slam into the carbon dioxide or water molecule to break it apart. Plants actually use solar panels and then electrolysis to break apart bonds.

    (I think its about 2600 Kilojoules to break apart CO2)
    there is 0.277777778 watts in one kilojoule 0.277777778 watts=1 Kj
    2600 Kj=723 watts (10 light bulbs for an hour to break apart one mol of CO2)
    that's 6.02 x 10^23 molecules (44 grams of CO2)


    This is where the hydrogen car comes in. break apart water with renewable energy and use the hydrogen as a battery. Water is quite literally the only thing you can put in our atmosphere that can not be considered pollution. And they are 80% efficient. that means the process of breaking and burning it, you get 80% of the potential energy. A standard combustion engine is only about 30% efficient. The rest of the energy escapes as heat.

    Electric cars pose a problem because of the battery disposal. If everyone had electric cars the amount of batteries to dispose would be bad for the environment.

    the money maker would be to break apart both and make octane so no one has to buy new engines and cars. Think of how much fuel is burned to forge the steel for a car. 1/3 of all the fuel you'll ever put in it.
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    1 joule = 6.24150974 10^18 electron volts
    1 mol= 6.02x10^23 molecules
    2600 kilojoules=1.6 million joules
    1,600,000joules x (6.24x10^18)=1.62x10^25 e-volts
    (1.62x10^25)/(6.02x10^23)=26.91


    So as long as the laser is stronger than 27 electron volts, than it will break apart a CO2 molecule. you also have to have a specific wavelength of light for the CO2. most likely ultra-violet because tha'ts what plants use.
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    Forum Freshman CrimsonViper's Avatar
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    "2600kJ=1.6million J"
    Please tell me that was a typo on your part.
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  9. #8  
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    kilo means 1000
    2600x1000=2.6 million
    yes typo
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  10. #9  
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    essentially you have to get the CO2 molecule over 6600 degrees celcius. you could use a blast furnace for that matter. although there is only 2 things in known existence that dont melt at that temperature and one of them is diamonds. so your container might be costly. but all you have to do is heat up the CO2 until its so hot it separates and use a centrafuse to separate the 2 gases before they cool and recombine. that's the hard part. separating before they cool. even with your laser.
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  11. #10  
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    or break apart water at the same time and during cool down you get a hydrocarbon
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  12. #11  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    No lasers involved but this firm seems to think they can crack CO2 using concentrated solar energy. Very little info provided by them so what they are really doing is pure speculation. My speculation is they are catalytically cracking CO2 to CO and oxygen, then adding hydrogen to make syngas and then doing Fischer Tropsch to make synthetic gasoline.

    If, as someone has mentioned, the temperature needed for cracking CO2 is 6000C then that's impractical, but catalytic methods might operate at much lower temperatures - see second link below. A temperature of 4000F (2200C) can easily be handled with conventional refractories.

    http://denver.bizjournals.com/denver...11/story4.html
    http://www.scientificblogging.com/ne...ng_solar_power
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  13. #12  
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    I wonder how practical it would be to set up CO2 destruction plants at remote locations. Pong is always mentioning how there are some really great rivers in some of the mountainous regions of Canada, but they're too far from civilization to make it worth the trouble of damming them.

    Living in Oregon, I can say that hydroelectric is the best power source there is, if it's geographically available. It's reliable, and quite powerful. Wind would probably be good too, if you could be assured of setting up in an area that has a lot of wind, or maybe tidal. My point is: once we're not trying to sell to a consumer market, the possibilities for renewable energy are quite big.
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