Capture and convert—this is the motto of carbon dioxide reduction, a process that stops the greenhouse gas before it escapes from chimneys and power plants into the atmosphere and instead turns it into a useful product.
One possible end product is methanol, a liquid fuel and the focus of a recent study conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory. The chemical reactions that make methanol from carbon dioxide rely on a catalyst to speed up the conversion, and Argonne scientists identified a new material that could fill this role. With its unique structure, this catalyst can capture and convert carbon dioxide in a way that ultimately saves energy.
They call it a copper tetramer.
It consists of small clusters of four copper atoms each, supported on a thin film of aluminum oxide. These catalysts work by binding to carbon dioxide molecules, orienting them in a way that is ideal for chemical reactions. The structure of the copper tetramer is such that most of its binding sites are open, which means it can attach more strongly to carbon dioxide and can better accelerate the conversion.
The current industrial process to reduce carbon dioxide to methanol uses a catalyst of copper, zinc oxide and aluminum oxide. A number of its binding sites are occupied merely in holding the compound together, which limits how many atoms can catch and hold carbon dioxide.
“With our catalyst, there is no inside,” said Stefan Vajda, senior chemist at Argonne and the Institute for Molecular Engineering and co-author on the paper. “All four copper atoms are participating because with only a few of them in the cluster, they are all exposed and able to bind.”
To compensate for a catalyst with fewer binding sites, the current method of reduction creates high-pressure conditions to facilitate stronger bonds with carbon dioxide molecules. But compressing gas into a high-pressure mixture takes a lot of energy.
The benefit of enhanced binding is that the new catalyst requires lower pressure and less energy to produce the same amount of methanol.
Carbon dioxide emissions are an ongoing environmental problem, and according to the authors, it’s important that research identifies optimal ways to deal with the waste.
“We’re interested in finding new catalytic reactions that will be more efficient than the current catalysts, especially in terms of saving energy,” said Larry Curtiss, an Argonne Distinguished Fellow who co-authored this paper.
Copper tetramers could allow us to capture and convert carbon dioxide on a larger scale—reducing an environmental threat and creating a useful product like methanol that can be transported and burned for fuel.
Of course the catalyst still has a long journey ahead from the lab to industry.
The Latest on: CO2 to fuel
via Google News
The Latest on: CO2 to fuel
- These bacteria turn industrial emissions into fuelon October 30, 2019 at 6:45 am
Lanzatech uses a process quite like brewing beer to turn CO2 from steel plants into useful products. Like us on Facebook to see similar stories Please give an overall site rating: ...
- Will Renault React To Fiat Chrysler, PSA Merger Talks?on October 30, 2019 at 3:40 am
European Union rules which kick in next year to slash carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will cost big money too ... Gupta-Chaudhary said the most pressing issue for FCA is the fuel inefficiency of its ...
- Five Measures Suggested to Make Europe’s Big Polluters Greeneron October 30, 2019 at 2:03 am
Five new policy measures could preserve much of the European Union’s heavy industry while prodding those companies toward reducing their fossil fuel emissions. That’s the conclusion of research ...
- Shipping companies, retailers look to develop cleaner marine biofuelon October 29, 2019 at 3:55 pm
retail and transport companies are looking to develop an alternative marine fuel which aims to reduce carbon emissions from ships, in another step to push the sector to go green. International ...
- MIT Engineers Find New Way to Remove CO2 From Airon October 29, 2019 at 3:39 pm
Most methods of removing CO2 from a stream of other gases require higher concentrations, such as those found in the flue emissions from fossil fuel-based power plants. A few variations have been ...
- Carbon Engineering’s air-to-fuel fig leaf (a Cleantechnica case study)on October 29, 2019 at 12:46 pm
They recently received $68 million in funding, most of it coming from a handful of wealthy investors and three major fossil fuel companies — Chevon, Occidental, and BHP. Air-carbon capture as a ...
- US motorists prepared to pay more for fuel to lower emissionson October 28, 2019 at 8:14 am
Motorists in the US appear surprisingly flexible when it comes to choosing fuels that reduce carbon dioxide emissions, researchers have found. After conducting surveys online and face-to-face at fuel ...
- MIT engineers devise new way to remove carbon dioxide from the airon October 26, 2019 at 9:04 pm
MIT said the new system requires less energy and money to operate than other methods, which require higher concentrations, such as those found in the flue emissions from fossil fuel-based power plants ...
- Engineers develop a new way to remove carbon dioxide from airon October 26, 2019 at 11:46 am
A new way of removing carbon dioxide from a stream of air could provide a significant tool in the battle against climate change. The new system can work on the gas at virtually any concentration level ...
- Daimler Dumps Gas-Powered Truck Bid to Build CO2-Neutral Fleeton October 25, 2019 at 2:32 am
Tesla Inc. this week said it’s planning to start output of its electric semi in limited numbers next year. “Natural gas engines are fossil fuel-based and therefore a transition technology on the road ...
via Bing News