Converting ambient and environmentally destructive carbon dioxide into usable alternative fuels has often been referred to as the “holy grail” of energy. Researchers over the globe have been working on a possible way by which carbon dioxide can be captured from the atmosphere and somehow converted into alternative fuel such as methane and the most recent advancement has surfaced courtesy of biochemists at the Utah State University.
The biochemists here knew that molybdenum nitrogenases, bacterial enzymes used in nitrogen reduction, can effectively convert carbon monoxide into hydrocarbons, but cannot do the same stuff in converting carbon dioxide. Using this knowledge the team of biochemists genetically engineered molybdenum nitrogenase so that it can convert carbon dioxide into methane.
Though the research looks promising, the team humbly states that their process isn’t quite efficient in the conversion process. Till now they’ve only managed to convert a tiny amount of CO2 into methane and the process is very slow for commercial use. However, it definitely is a step in the right direction. The team is now being challenged to find out how the process actually works and then transferring the knowledge to create robust catalysts that can escalate the process and finally manage to produce something useful from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.