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 November 26, 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 November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
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