According to chemical engineer Benjamin Glasser, scientists have found a way to make the process of deriving liquid gasoline from coal cleaner. By that, we mean it will emit less carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. He said the basic idea behind the process is to combine coal with water.
Benjamin Glasser: One of the problems with current technology is that it’s very inefficient.
Glasser, who spoke with EarthSky from his office at Rutgers University, said that, in his research on this process, he’s been able to pinpoint the least amount of carbon dioxide able to be produced from the process.
Benjamin Glasser: But, the other thing we’ve done is shown a way to get closer to that minimum by changing the reaction chemistry.
Critics say making the process more efficient will discourage the development of sustainable energy alternatives – solar energy, for example. But Glasser said his findings could be applied to potential biofuels like our own kitchen waste.
Benjamin Glasser: While we looked at coal as the simplest case, our work really does translate into renewable sources.
Glasser added that countries like China still rely on coal as an energy source.
Benjamin Glasser: What we say is, if it’s going to be done, let’s do it in the most efficient possible way.
Our thanks to Benjamin Glasser.
Benjamin Glasser is associate professor in the department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at Rutgers University in New Jersey.