Enzyme-embedded polymer

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researcher Sarah Baker measures the amount of methanol produced by the enzyme-embedded polymer.
Image: George Kitrinos/LLNL

A new study has emerged from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory demonstrating that through the combination of biology and 3-D printing, scientists can turn methane into methanol.

In recent years, methanol has shown a lot of promise as a clean burning fuel. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the alcohol’s high-performance and low emission levels could make it an ideal alternative to gasoline for cars.

On the other hand, methane is a potent greenhouse gas that is adding to the acceleration of climate change. While the chemical compound does not stay in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide, it is 84 times more potent due to its ability to effectively absorb the sun’s heat and warm the atmosphere. In fact, methane has outpaced carbon dioxide in climate change impact over the least 100 years, with methane’s impact being 25 times greater.

The development from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory not only provide a clean burning fuel alternative, it effectively helps combat the pressing effects of climate change.


Coffee Grounds to Store Greenhouse Gases

Do your old, damp coffee grounds have the potential to save the world? New research from the journal Nanotechnology states that the same coffee grounds you toss in the trash every day actually have the ability to store methane.

ECS Fellow Meyya Meyyappan and a team of researchers found that by combining the used coffee grounds with potassium hydroxide, a material with the ability to store substantial amounts of methane was created.

Coffee Grounds Fight Climate Change

In light of global warming and the damaging effects rising temperatures and increased greenhouse gas emissions have on the planet, the ability to store harmful methane is critical.

Methane is a preventable greenhouse gas that accounts for about 10 percent of all harmful emissions derived from human activity. While methane doesn’t stay in the atmosphere as long as the more commonly talked about carbon dioxide, it is far more devastating to the climate due to its extreme efficiency in absorbing heat. In fact, methane is about 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide.