Resarches at the University of Delaware have developed a catalyst that is capable of electrochemically converting the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide, which can be used to develop useful chemicals. It can convert this greenhouse gas to carbon monoxide with a 92% efficiency.
“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.
Researches found that using a non-porous silver electrocatalyst is much more active (3000x more!) than using polycrystalline silver, the catalyst commonly used in converting carbon dioxide to useful materials. Silver offers a high selectivity and costs much less than other precious metal catalysts.
“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.”
Think of all the carbon dioxide we’re putting out into the atmosphere! This greenhouse gas growing and growing thanks to exhaust from cars and industry. Now we can put this gas to good use instead of upsetting the delicate balance of ecosystems around the world! It’s kind of an awesome idea, like turning dirt into gold! Sounds like alchemy, but no, it’s science!