Chemists at EPFL have developed an efficient process for converting carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide, a key ingredient of synthetic fuels and materials.
The carbon dioxide (CO2) produced when fossil fuels are burned is normally released into the atmosphere. Researchers working on synthetic fuels – also known as carbon-neutral fuels – are exploring ways to capture and recycle that CO2. At EPFL, this research is spearheaded by a team led by Professor Xile Hu at the Laboratory of Inorganic Synthesis and Catalysis (LSCI). The chemists have recently made a landmark discovery, successfully developing a high-efficiency catalyst that converts dissolved CO2 into carbon monoxide (CO) – an essential ingredient of all synthetic fuels, as well as plastics and other materials. The researchers published their findings in Science on 14 June.
Replacing gold with iron
The new process is just as efficient as previous technologies, but with one major benefit. “To date, most catalysts have used atoms of precious metals such as gold,” explains Professor Hu. “But we’ve used iron atoms instead. At extremely low currents, our process achieves conversion rates of around 90%, meaning it performs on a par with precious-metal catalysts.”
“Our catalyst converts such a high percentage of CO2 into CO because we successfully stabilized iron atoms to achieve efficient CO2 activation,” adds Jun Gu, a PhD student and lead author of the paper. To help them understand why their catalyst was so highly active, the researchers called on a team led by Professor Hao Ming Chen at National Taiwan University, who conducted a key measurement of the catalyst under operating conditions using synchrotron X-rays.
Closing the carbon cycle
Although the team’s work is still very much experimental, the research paves the way for new applications. At present, most of the carbon monoxide needed to make synthetic materials is obtained from petroleum. Recycling the carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels would help preserve precious resources, as well as limit the amount of CO2 – a major greenhouse gas – released into the atmosphere.
The process could also be combined with storage batteries and hydrogen-production technologies to convert surplus renewable power into products that could fill the gap when demand outstrips supply.
Learn more: Carbon-neutral fuels move a step closer
The Latest on: Carbon neutral fuels
via Google News
The Latest on: Carbon neutral fuels
- Denmark to End Oil Exploration in Shift Away From Fossil Fuelson December 4, 2020 at 8:38 am
Denmark is to end all new oil and gas exploration, in one of the most drastic moves by an crude-producing nation to curb carbon emissions.
- Together for climate protection: Lufthansa Cargo and DB Schenker start first CO2-neutral freight flightson December 3, 2020 at 10:25 pm
"We are already further ahead than many think when it comes to climate protection in air freight. We can demonstrate this with the first CO2-neutral freight flight in history," says Jochen Thewes, CEO ...
- UC Merced becomes the first public research university in the country to achieve carbon neutralityon December 3, 2020 at 4:42 pm
After a lengthy and rigorous review by independent auditors, UC Merced can proudly announce it is the first public research university in the country to achieve carbon neutrality, two years ahead of ...
- Paper on carbon neutrality pathway for UD wins global campus sustainability research awardon December 3, 2020 at 10:52 am
A University of Dayton research paper on the cost of carbon neutrality at the University earned an Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education 2020 Sustainability Research ...
- UN calls on humanity to end 'war on nature,' go carbon-freeon December 3, 2020 at 9:41 am
The head of the United Nations is calling on countries to end what he calls a war on nature and instead embrace a future without carbon pollution triggering global warming ...
- Porsche Investing $24 Million in ‘E-Fuels' to Supplement Electrification of Sports Carson December 2, 2020 at 11:38 am
Porsche officials said e-fuels can act like gasoline, allowing owners of current and classic vehicles a more environmentally friendly way to drive.
- How Porsche's new e-fuel plant could pave the way for guilt-free classic-car motoringon December 2, 2020 at 10:23 am
Porsche and Siemens plan to build the world's first industrial-scale e-fuel plant. The gas will be safe for use in vintage Porsches -- and your car.
- Porsche launches effort to make carbon-neutral 'e-gas'on December 2, 2020 at 10:06 am
Porsche, the performance-oriented German carmaker, sees a future for combustion engines that add no carbon to the air ...
- Why providing customers a choice to drive carbon-neutral matterson November 30, 2020 at 9:39 pm
Today marks a milestone. Since launching our drive carbon-neutral offer at our stations in the Netherlands in April 2019, we’ve now rolled it out further to the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and ...
- Airbus CEO Calls For Carbon-Neutral Aircraft Incentiveson November 27, 2020 at 10:27 am
LYON, France—Future carbon-neutral commercial aircraft should benefit from a favorable tax policy to help the technology gain traction, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said. Hydrogen, Airbus’ favored fuel ...
via Bing News