According to scientists as the University of South Carolina, we might one day be able to reuse carbon dioxide as fuel making it, ironically, green fuel. Burning fossil fuels produces carbon dioxide, or CO2, which when introduced to the atmosphere in too great a quantity has all kinds of negative affects, namely it’s a leading contributor to global warming.

green fuel

For a while, we’ve been talking about ways to reduce carbon emissions, which governments around the world are working to do, but putting less carbon out there only slows the inevitable CO2 buildup. What we also need to do is take CO2 out of the atmosphere. Plants and the ocean help with that, but they’re doing about all the can.

A team of researchers at the University of South Carolina have developed a system that can reduce CO2 down to carbon monoxide, or CO, which can be used as a fuel. Basically, they take the CO2, run it though a filtering system made from carbon nanotubes, and they’re left with a byproduct that we can use as a fuel. They’re also working on making the process create methane and methanol, but they’re still working on that.

Currently, they’re working with some other institutions to improve the system and find ways to make it more efficient and more effective. An economically feasible model is somewhere down the road, which is the important part of making this process a reality. In order for a new system like this to work, it has to be able to sequester enough CO2 to actually help the environment, and make enough new fuel to be worth the effort and time, otherwise nobody is going to bother with it. Coupled with green technologies like solar and wind power though, a process that constantly recycles carbon dioxide into new fuel could help us achieve carbon neutrality, which would be a huge step in the right direction.