Researchers Develop Methane to Liquid Fuel Process

Researchers from the University of Liverpool have recently developed a plasma synthesis process for the direct, one-step conversion of carbon dioxide and methane into higher value liquid fuels and chemicals such as acetic acid, methanol, ethanol and formaldehyde.

Converting carbon dioxide and methane into liquid fuels using a single step process has been a challenge since they are both inert molecules. The conversion will require high temperature and pressure. The scientists' process of liquid fuel production was achieved using a unique atmospheric-pressure, non-thermal plasma reactor with a water electrode and a low energy input.

This study proves that non-thermal plasmas can overcome the thermodynamic barrier for the direct transformation of CH4 and CO2 into important chemicals and synthetic fuels at ambient conditions. Furthermore, plasma systems are flexible and can be scaled up and down.

The process could also be used to convert flared methane from flaring gas in oil and gas wells into valuable liquid fuels and chemicals, which can be easily stored and transported.


This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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