ALCHEMISTS long dreamed of turning base metal into gold.
Today, British scientists are working on a £1.4million project that could take carbon-dioxide from the air and turn it into car fuel.
The project aims to develop porous materials that can absorb the gas that causes global warming and convert it into chemicals that can be used to make car fuel or plastics in a process powered by renewable solar energy.
The researchers from three universities are working together and hope that, in the future, the porous materials could be used to line factory chimneys to take carbon-dioxide pollutants from the air, reducing the effects of climate change.
The team comprises scientists and engineers from the University of the West of England, plus Bath and Bristol.
Dr David Fermin, from the University of Bristol, says: “Currently, there are no large-scale technologies available for capturing and processing CO from air.
The facts are that CO is rather diluted in the atmosphere and its chemical reactivity is very low.
“By combining clever material design with ‘heterogeneous catalysis, electrocatalysis and biocatalysis’, we aim at developing an effective carbon-neutral technology.”