I was rather pleased to see that my PhD advisor’s work had made the front page of Reddit this morning. Reddit is one of the most viewed sites on the internet, and the presence (or absence) of topics on this website serves as a heuristic for what is in the mind of the public. The quality of the discussion in the Reddit thread is also very good; it was heartening to see that everyone (at least, nerds with internet access) has their facts correct.
I have talked in some depth about the Methanol Economy before; I strongly believe that this will be a viable energy solution for the future. Of course, this isn’t the only solution, as it has to be used in tandem with a mix of energy sources, including solar, wind, hydroelectric, and nuclear, depending on location. Methanol serves as a very convenient energy carrier and energy storage medium due to it’s convenient physical and chemical properties.
Unfortunately, I do not have journal access right now, so I cannot comment on the article. I do remember that this project has been going on for a long time; it was started back when I was still there, around 2014 or so. This seems to be a continuation of work done earlier, in which it was observed that polyamines (specifically ethyleneimine) adsorbed on silica could reversibly adsorb CO2. This CO2 adsorption process was then combined with CO2 to methanol reduction in the same flask. Since I don’t have journal access right now, I don’t know how good the yield, selectivity, or catalyst TON (Turn Over Number) is. These numbers are critical to evaluating if this process is really a big breakthrough or just another incremental improvement.