Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New catalyst to convert greenhouse gases into chemicals

Date:
January 31, 2014
Source:
University of Delaware
Summary:
Researchers have developed a highly selective catalyst capable of electrochemically converting carbon dioxide -- a greenhouse gas -- to carbon monoxide with 92 percent efficiency. The carbon monoxide then can be used to develop useful chemicals.

A UD engineering research team led by Feng Jiao has developed a highly selective catalyst capable of electrochemically converting carbon dioxide (left) to carbon monoxide with 92 percent efficiency.
Credit: Illustration courtesy of Feng Jiao

A team of researchers at the University of Delaware has developed a highly selective catalyst capable of electrochemically converting carbon dioxide -- a greenhouse gas -- to carbon monoxide with 92 percent efficiency. The carbon monoxide then can be used to develop useful chemicals.

Related Articles


The researchers recently reported their findings in Nature Communications.

"Converting carbon dioxide to useful chemicals in a selective and efficient way remains a major challenge in renewable and sustainable energy research," according to Feng Jiao, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and the project's lead researcher.

Co-authors on the paper include Qi Lu, a postdoctoral fellow, and Jonathan Rosen, a graduate student, working with Jiao.

The researchers found that when they used a nano-porous silver electrocatalyst, it was 3,000 times more active than polycrystalline silver, a catalyst commonly used in converting carbon dioxide to useful chemicals.

Silver is considered a promising material for a carbon dioxide reduction catalyst because of it offers high selectivity -- approximately 81 percent -- and because it costs much less than other precious metal catalysts. Additionally, because it is inorganic, silver remains more stable under harsh catalytic environments.

The exceptionally high activity, Jiao said, is likely due to the UD-developed electrocatalyst's extremely large and highly curved internal surface, which is approximately 150 times larger and 20 times intrinsically more active than polycrystalline silver.

Jiao explained that the active sites on the curved internal surface required a much smaller than expected voltage to overcome the activation energy barrier needed drive the reaction.

The resulting carbon monoxide, he continued, can be used as an industry feedstock for producing synthetic fuels, while reducing industrial carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 40 percent.

To validate whether their findings were unique, the researchers compared the UD-developed nano-porous silver catalyst with other potential carbon dioxide electrocatalysts including polycrystalline silver and other silver nanostructures such as nanoparticles and nanowires.

Testing under identical conditions confirmed the non-porous silver catalyst's significant advantages over other silver catalysts in water environments.

Reducing greenhouse carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use is considered critical for human society. Over the last 20 years, electrocatalytic carbon dioxide reduction has attracted attention because of the ability to use electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and wave.

Ideally, Jiao said, one would like to convert carbon dioxide produced in power plants, refineries and petrochemical plants to fuels or other chemicals through renewable energy use.

A 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report stated that 19 percent of greenhouse gas emissions resulted from industry in 2004, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's website.

"Selective conversion of carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide is a promising route for clean energy but it is a technically difficult process to accomplish," said Jiao. "We're hopeful that the catalyst we've developed can pave the way toward future advances in this area."

The research team's work is supported through funding from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund and University of Delaware Research Foundation. Jiao has patented the novel application technique in collaboration with UD's Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Delaware. The original article was written by Karen B. Roberts. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Qi Lu, Jonathan Rosen, Yang Zhou, Gregory S. Hutchings, Yannick C. Kimmel, Jingguang G. Chen, Feng Jiao. A selective and efficient electrocatalyst for carbon dioxide reduction. Nature Communications, 2014; 5 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4242

Cite This Page:

University of Delaware. "New catalyst to convert greenhouse gases into chemicals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140131083250.htm>.
University of Delaware. (2014, January 31). New catalyst to convert greenhouse gases into chemicals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140131083250.htm
University of Delaware. "New catalyst to convert greenhouse gases into chemicals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140131083250.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

AP (Dec. 21, 2014) Officials have opened a new road on Hawaii's Big Island for drivers to take care of their daily needs if encroaching lava from Kilauea Volcano crosses a highway and cuts them off from the rest of the island. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scuba Diving Santa Off Florida Keys

Raw: Scuba Diving Santa Off Florida Keys

AP (Dec. 20, 2014) A scuba diving Santa Claus explored the waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Dive shop owner Spencer Slate makes the dive each year to help raise money for charity. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) US President Barack Obama says that construction of the Keystone pipeline would have 'very little impact' on US gas prices and believes there are 'more direct ways' to create construction jobs. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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