Discovery may impact the future of natural gas use.
Chemists have found a cheaper and less energy-intensive way to turn raw natural gas into upgraded liquid alcohol fuel.
Ordinarily, the three main parts of raw natural gas are separated before being turned into fuels or other chemicals. Researchers from Brigham Young University and the Scripps Research Institute have discovered that this is not necessary, which eliminates one step in the conversion process.
Another finding is that conversion can be triggered at a much lower temperature when utilizing ordinary “main group” metals, such as thallium and lead, as a catalyst vs. traditional “transition metals.”
Potential benefits aren’t limited to the production of fuel. Since many chemicals are derived from natural gas, this process could also be beneficial for manufacturers.
The research was published in the journal Science.