A lot of research is going on for the human-crewed mission to Mars. Their purpose is to find a solution to some problem related to coming to Mars or staying there. One such problem is fuel production on Mars, thereby eliminating the need to carry fuel from Earth to get to Mars. Engineers at the University of Cincinnati are developing new ways to convert greenhouse gases into energy (Fuel Form Greenhouse Gases). With this, the problem of Mars will end. It can also help in dealing with climate change.
A lot of fuel would be needed to go to Mars. The exact amount of fuel will also be required to come back from there, which will have to be taken from the Earth according to the current technologies. In such a situation, scientists are looking for ways to develop the ability to make fuel from the sources available on Mars. This will solve a huge problem.
Carbon dioxide will be converted into methane
Jingji Wu, an assistant professor in the UC College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and his students have used a carbon catalyst in a reactor to convert carbon dioxide into methane. This process, known as the Sabatier reaction, was discovered by the French chemist Paul Sabatier.
This technology is used in the ISS
This process is used at the International Space Station to make fuel for rockets by removing the carbon dioxide from astronauts’ breath from the air. Due to this fuel, the ISS can maintain itself in its orbit. But Wu and his team are thinking more significant than this.
Half the fuel will be left
Wu says that the majority of Mars’ atmosphere is made of carbon dioxide. Mars travellers can reach there and save half the fuel required for the return journey by making this fuel. He said that it would be like a gas station on Mars. This carbon dioxide could easily be pumped into this reactor and would become methane for the rocket.
CO2 big problem
This study was published in the journal Nature Communications. Wu began his career in chemical engineering ten years ago, began studying fuel cells in electric vehicles but began studying CO2 in his engineering lab. Looking at the problem of greenhouse gases, he found that carbon dioxide is a big problem.
Effective for climate change
We said that we have to recycle carbon dioxide. Tianyu Zhang, the lead author of this research, and Wu and his students, experimented with several catalysts to increase methane production. Wu says his technology will also be able to mitigate climate change.
There is also a significant commercial advantage of this technology in which fuel will be a by-product. This process has become a hundred times faster in ten years. In the next ten years, many start-up companies will commercialize this technology. Wu’s students are trying to produce ethylene in addition to methane.