The emerging productions of rDME

Reprinting from Getting Renewable Ethers on the Road, Athan tountas, Advanced Science News, July 6, 2021

An interesting opinion regarding carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and utilization is that society doesn’t necessarily need to decarbonize to become sustainable, but to deploy more renewably-sourced carbons or de-fossilize. Instead of storing captured CO2 indefinitely, the idea is to use it cyclically to power our economies with energy-dense, renewable, carbon-containing fuels.

Synthetic fuels like renewable ethers (or XMEs) might hold the answer. A group of these chemicals known as oxymethylene ethers in particular have been gaining attention recently as they do not release soot or hydrocarbons upon combustion and have the potential to play an important role in a cyclic carbon economy. XMEs are chemical products characterized by a repeating [–CH2–O–] structure that incorporates increasing quantities of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms as the chain gets longer. The important thing to note here is that the carbon and oxygen constituents of these molecules are derivable from CO2 in the form of their precursors methanol and formaldehyde, making them interesting from a CO2 capture and utilization standpoint.

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