New Electrocatalyst Turns Carbon Dioxide Into Liquid Liquid


Artistic rendering of the electrocatalytic process for the conversion of water into carbon dioxide and ethanol. Sincerely: Arganen National Laboratory

New electrocatalyst efficiently converts carbon dioxide into ethanol.

Catalysts speed up chemical reactions and form the backbone of many industrial processes. For example, they are required to convert heavy oil to gasoline or jet fuel. Today, catalysts comprise over 80 percent of all manufactured products.

A research team led by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Argon National Laboratory in collaboration with Northern Illinois University has discovered a new electrocatalyst that converts carbon dioxide (CO).2) And water in ethanol with very high energy efficiency, high selectivity and low cost for the desired final product. Ethanol is a particularly desirable commodity because it is an ingredient in almost all American gasoline and is widely used as an intermediate product in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics industries.

“The process resulting from our catalysts will contribute to the circular carbon economy, which forces the reuse of carbon dioxide.” – Di-Jia Liu is a senior chemist in the Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division of Argon and a UChicago CASE scientist

“The process arising from the catalyst will contribute to the circular carbon economy, which forces the reuse of carbon dioxide,” said senior chemist at Argon’s chemical science and engineering division and a UChicago CASE scientist at the Pritzker School in Mösküller. Engineering, University of Chicago. This process will do this by electrically converting CO.2 Valuable commodities at reasonable costs emit industrial processes, such as fossil fuel power plants or alcohol fermentation plants.

The team’s catalyst consists of atomically scattered copper on a carbon-powder support. By an electrical reaction, this catalytic CO is broken.2 And water molecules and selectively convert broken molecules into ethanol in an external electric field. The electrocalytic selectivity, or “faradic efficiency,” process is over 90 percent, much higher than any other reported process. What’s more, the catalyst works strictly on extended operation at low voltages.

“With this research, we have discovered a new catalytic mechanism to convert carbon dioxide and water into ethanol,” said Tao Xu, a professor in physical chemistry and nanotechnology at Northern Illinois University. “The mechanism should also provide a basis for the development of highly efficient electrocatalytics for carbon dioxide conversion to a vast array of value-added chemicals.”

Because CO2 Is a stable molecule, transforming it into a separate molecule is usually energy intensive and expensive. However, according to Liu, “we can combine the electrochemical process of CO2Take advantage of the low cost electricity available from renewable sources such as solar and wind during ethanol conversion and off-peak hours using our catalysts for electric catalysts. “Because the process operates at low temperatures and pressures, it can start and stop rapidly in response to intermittent supply of renewable electricity.

The team’s research benefited from two DOE Office of Science user facilities from Aragonne – Advanced Photon Source (APS) and the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM) – as well as Argon’s Laboratory Computing Resource Center (LCRC). “Thanks to the high photon flux of the X-ray beam in APS, we have captured the structural changes of the catalyst during the electrochemical reaction,” said Tao Li, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in Northern Illinois. An assistant scientist in the X-ray science department of the University and Argon. These data, along with computational modeling using high-resolution electron microscopy and LCRC at CNM, revealed a reversible change in the flakes of three copper atoms from each copper atom upon application of low voltage. The co2The -so-ethanol catalyst occurs on these small copper groups. This discovery is shedding light on ways to further improve catalysts through rational design.

“We have created many new catalysts using this approach and found that they are all highly efficient at converting CO2 For other hydrocarbons, ”Liu said. “We plan to continue this research in collaboration with the industry to advance this promising technology.”

Reference: “Highly selective electrocatalytic CO2 The reduction of ethanol by metal clumps is made from dynamically dispersed copper. “Happening Xu, Dominic Reballer, Haiying Hing, Lina Chong, Yuzhi Liu, Kang Liu, Cheng-Jun Sun, Tao Li, John Wei . Mantian, Randall E. Winans D-Jia Liu and Tao Xu, 27 July 2020, Nature energy.
DOI: 10.1038 / s41560-020-0666-x

Support for the research comes from the Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Fund of Argon provided by the DOE Office of Science and the DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences. The same scientific paper, “Highly selective electrocatalytic CO2 The reduction in ethanol by metal clusters is made from dynamically dispersed copper, ”appeared in a July 2020 issue of Nature Energy. In addition to Di-Jia Liu and Tao Xu, the authors include Happening Xu, Dominic Reballer, Haiying Hee, Lina Chong, Yuji Liu, Kang Liu, Cheng-Jun Sun, Tao Li, John Wei. Muntian and Randall E. Winns are included.

About Argonne’s Nanoscale Materials Center
The Center for Nanoscale Materials is one of five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers, which are key national user facilities for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale supported by the DOE Office of Science. Together NSRCs comprise a suite of complementary facilities that provide researchers with cutting-edge capabilities to construct, process, characterize and model nanoscale materials, and constitute the largest infrastructure investment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative Does. The NSRCs are located at DOE’s Argon, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge, Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories.

About Advanced Photon Source

The US Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source (APS) Department of Science at the Argon National Laboratory has one of the world’s most productive X-ray light source facilities. APS provides high-brightness X-ray beams to a diverse community of researchers in materials science, chemistry, condensed matter physics, life and environmental sciences, and applied research. These X-rays are ideally suited for exploration of materials and biological structures; Elemental distribution; Chemical, magnetic, electronic states; And a wide range of technologically important engineering systems, from batteries to fuel injector sprays, are all the foundations for the economic, technical and physical well-being of our country. Each year, more than 5,000 researchers use APS to produce more than 2,000 publications detailing impressive discoveries, and more important biological protein structures than users of any other X-ray light source research facility Solve APS scientists and engineers innovate technology that is at the heart of advancing accelerator and light-source operations. This includes insertion devices, which produce valuable X-rays by researchers, lenses that focus X-rays to a few nanometers, instrumentation in the way that X-rays maximize interaction with the samples being studied. Is, and software – collects and manages large-scale data as a result of search research at APS.

The research utilized advanced photon source resources, operated by the Argonne National Laboratory for the DOE Office of Science under a US DOE Office of Science user facility agreement number DE-AC02-06CH11357.

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