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Renewable CO2 recycling and synthetic fuel production in a marine environment

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Patterson Bruce D., Mo Frode, Borgschulte Andreas, Hillestad Magne, Joos Fortunat, Kristiansen Trygve, Sunde Svein, van Bokhoven Jeroen A.,
Project Climate and Environmental Physics: Modeling Global Biogeochemical Cycles in the Earth System (bgcCEP)
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Volume (Issue) 116(25)
Page(s) 12212 - 12219
Title of proceedings Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
DOI 10.1073/pnas.1902335116

Open Access

Type of Open Access Green OA Embargo (Freely available via Repository after an embargo)


A massive reduction in CO 2 emissions from fossil fuel burning is required to limit the extent of global warming. However, carbon-based liquid fuels will in the foreseeable future continue to be important energy storage media. We propose a combination of largely existing technologies to use solar energy to recycle atmospheric CO 2 into a liquid fuel. Our concept is clusters of marine-based floating islands, on which photovoltaic cells convert sunlight into electrical energy to produce H 2 and to extract CO 2 from seawater, where it is in equilibrium with the atmosphere. These gases are then reacted to form the energy carrier methanol, which is conveniently shipped to the end consumer. The present work initiates the development of this concept and highlights relevant questions in physics, chemistry, and mechanics.