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Home / Publications / Journals / Nuclear Technology / Volume 166 / Number 1

Nuclear Hydrogen and Captured Carbon Dioxide for Alternative Liquid Fuels

B. D. Middleton, M. S. Kazimi, Min Wah Leung

Nuclear Technology / Volume 166 / Number 1 / April 2009 / Pages 64-75

Technical Paper / Special Issue on Nuclear Hydrogen Production, Control, and Management /

A preliminary study is conducted that considers capturing carbon dioxide from fossil-fired power plants and combining it with nuclear hydrogen in order to produce alternative liquid fuels for transportation.

We estimate the quantity of carbon dioxide that would be emitted by fossil-fired power plants in the future. We then use this information to determine how much ethanol or methanol can be created if enough hydrogen is made available. Using the quantity of hydrogen required and the thermodynamics of the reactions involved, we estimate the nuclear power that would be needed to produce the liquid fuel. This amount of liquid fuel is then used to estimate the effect of such a program on conventional gasoline usage, need for foreign oil, and decrease in CO2 emissions.

We then review the Mobil M process, which is a technique for producing gasoline from methanol. Although methanol and ethanol can be used in cars today, the volumetric energy density of gasoline is much greater, and the infrastructure for gasoline is in place. For this purpose, we feel that the conversion from methanol to gasoline is worth investigating.

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