Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Designing A Better Catalyst For 'Artificial Photosynthesis'

Date:
September 10, 2003
Source:
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Summary:
Scientists studying the conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) to carbon monoxide (CO) -- a crucial step in transforming CO2 to useful organic compounds such as methanol -- are trying to mimic what plants do when they convert CO2 and water to carbohydrates and oxygen in the presence of chlorophyll and sunlight.

NEW YORK, NY -- Scientists studying the conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) to carbon monoxide (CO) -- a crucial step in transforming CO2 to useful organic compounds such as methanol -- are trying to mimic what plants do when they convert CO2 and water to carbohydrates and oxygen in the presence of chlorophyll and sunlight. Such "artificial photosynthesis" could produce inexpensive fuels and raw materials for the chemical industry from renewable solar energy. But achieving this goal is no simple task.

"Nature has found a way to do this over eons," says Etsuko Fujita, a chemist at the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory. "It's very complicated chemistry."

Nature uses chlorophyll as a light absorber and electron-transfer agent. However, chlorophyll does not directly react with CO2. If you take it out of the plant and place it in an artificial system, it decomposes rather quickly, resulting in only a small amount of CO production.

So Fujita and others trying to mimic photosynthesis have turned to artificial catalysts made from robust transition metal complexes such as rhenium complexes. These catalysts absorb solar energy and transfer electrons to CO2, releasing CO. But until now, no one had explained how these processes work in detail. By studying these reactions over very short and long timescales (ranging from 10-8 seconds to hours), Fujita and her colleagues at Brookhaven have discovered an important intermediate step. A most intriguing result is the involvement of two energetic metal complexes to activate one CO2 molecule. Without CO2, the complexes dimerize much more slowly than expected.

The Brookhaven scientists' work, incorporating a combined experimental and theoretical approach, may help to explain why the reaction proceeds so slowly, which may ultimately contribute to the design of more efficient catalysts.

Fujita will present a talk on this work, which will be published in the Oct. 1 Journal of the American Chemical Society, during the "Organometallic Catalysis" session on Tuesday, September 9, 2003, at 2:30 p.m. in the Jacob Javits Convention Center, room 1A29. This work was funded by the Division of Chemical Sciences, Office of Basic Energy Sciences at DOE's Office of Science.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brookhaven National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Brookhaven National Laboratory. "Designing A Better Catalyst For 'Artificial Photosynthesis'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030910073052.htm>.
Brookhaven National Laboratory. (2003, September 10). Designing A Better Catalyst For 'Artificial Photosynthesis'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030910073052.htm
Brookhaven National Laboratory. "Designing A Better Catalyst For 'Artificial Photosynthesis'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030910073052.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

AP (July 30, 2014) Smartphone powered paper airplane that was popular on crowdfunding website KickStarter makes its debut at Wisconsin airshow (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Driverless cars could soon become a staple on U.K. city streets, as they're set to be introduced to a few cities in 2015. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins