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Reduction of carbon dioxide to methane

By Paul Grad |

Electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide to hydrocarbons and oxygenates on copper involves reduction to a carbon monoxide adsorbate followed by transformation to hydrocarbons and oxygenates. To ensure the sustainability of the process, the electrochemical CO2 reduction is typically conducted in an aqueous electrolyte, where the protons required are obtained. To convert CO2 into fuels, you have to start with a surface made of copper. However, this process requires two reactors and costly separation and purification steps. A new approach has been reported by a team of researchers from the University of Delaware (Newark, Del.; www.udel.edu), Columbia University (New York, www.columbia.edu), California Institute of Technology (Pasadena; www.caltech.edu), Tsinghua University (Beijing, China; www.tsinghua.edu.cn) and National Cheng Kung University (Tainan, Taiwan; www.ncku.edu.tw). The team utilizes a series of catalytic reactions to electrochemically reduce CO2 to methane, eliminating an intermediate step usually required in the reduction process. The team developed a one-pot catalysis system by adding special nanostructured silver surfaces to the copper surfaces. By constructing a well-defined copper-modified silver surface, adsorbed…
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