Qatar’s chemical industry is expansive — companies boast hefty operations in oil and gas extraction, as well as liquefied natural gas (LNG), crude oil, petrochemicals, fertilizers, and plastics production. However, as a result, Qatar is one of the world’s largest producers of emissions per capita. In 2017, Qatar reported 49 metric tons (m.t.) of CO2 emissions per citizen.
A major challenge for Qatar’s government and scientific communities is what to do with greenhouse gases such as CO2 and methane. Major funding has shifted to CO2 conversion and energy research.
At Texas A&M Univ. (TAMU), which has campuses in both Texas and Qatar, chemical engineers have developed a CO2 conversion method called CARGEN™ technology that can completely sequester the greenhouse gas by turning it into pure carbon nanotubes.
The project began as a way to overcome challenges pertaining to the dry reforming of methane (DRM), a process that turns methane and CO2 into syngas (a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide).
While the process is meant to recycle greenhouse gases, it is relatively inefficient — carbon formation from both greenhouse gases occurs during the reaction and often deactivates essential catalysts. Thus, the technology has not caught on.
To tackle this, the researchers explored the possibility of mixing the CO2 and methane streams in one reactor to generate...
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