How to Convert Carbon Monoxide to Oxygen

••• Jupiterimages/ Images

The combustion products of hydrocarbons, particularly fossil fuels, are carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and water. Green plans convert the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere back into oxygen using chlorophyll in their leaves. This cycle keeps the oxygen level in air at a constant and acceptable level. Carbon monoxide, however, doesn’t have an elimination pathway. Manufacturers equip modern gasoline automobiles with catalytic converters that solve the CO emission problem. The exhaust of the engine passes through the catalytic converter that converts CO to CO2. Using both of these techniques, you can convert CO to O2.

    Assemble a gas delivery system that directs the carbon monoxide through a hot catalytic converter and into a greenhouse filled with high foliage plant life. A catalytic converter contains small diameter ceramic beads with a thin coating of platinum and palladium. It operates at better efficiency when the converter is hot.

    Seal each joint in the flow path from the source to the greenhouse using a welder. When the carbon monoxide source starts, the flow path to the greenhouse will maintain a positive pressure.

    Direct the flow of carbon monoxide into the catalytic converter. As the carbon monoxide flows through the converter, the platinum and palladium catalyze the reaction to generate carbon dioxide. This is the first stage of the conversion of carbon monoxide to oxygen.

    Open the gas inlet into the greenhouse allowing it to fill with CO2. The plant energy cycle uses chlorophyll in the leaves to take in carbon dioxide and excrete oxygen as a waste product of its energy cycle. As the air in the greenhouse replenishes with carbon dioxide from the converter, it grows richer in oxygen from the plants.

    Water and provide lots of sunlight to the plants. As they continue their life cycle they will consume CO2 and release O2.

    Things You'll Need

    • Exhaust pipe
    • Exhaust catalytic converter
    • Welder
    • Greenhouse
    • High foliage plants


About the Author

Sean Lancaster has been a freelance writer since 2007. He has written for Writers Research Group, Alexis Writing and the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce. Lancaster holds a Doctor of Philosophy in chemistry from the University of Washington.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images