Seeing the positive side of carbon dioxide

Mar 01, 2013
Seeing the positive side of Carbon Dioxide
Research at Bath has developed a more efficient way of converting CO2 into useful chemical products.

(Phys.org)—New research from Bath has explored the idea of treating carbon dioxide as a useful product rather than waste, by capturing it and converting it into useful chemicals and reducing the quantity of this greenhouse gas in our atmosphere.

Carbon capture and storage is promoted as one of the most promising solutions to , but the Bath research team now want to take that locked-away and realise its potential as a large-scale and free alternative to fossil fuels.

In recent years, as have risen and governments have become environmentally concerned, the well-documented 1920s Fischer-Tropsch process for the conversion of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide has been explored by researchers around the world.

However to date the processes used to create the catalysts needed to convert carbon dioxide have been energy intensive and therefore costly, and not suitable for use on a large scale.

Dr Davide Mattia, project lead from the University's Department of Chemical Engineering, said: "To date, methods have typically required the use of one catalyst to create the carbon support for the conversion process. Then the first catalyst has to be flushed out, and replaced with the second catalyst for the Fischer-Tropsch process. This is time and energy intensive, so makes the whole method expensive."

Dr Matthew Jones, co-author of the paper from the Department of Chemistry, added: "Our method is considerably more simple. We use the same catalyst at both stages, which means energy and time isn't required to purify the carbon support and the process can take place far more quickly.

"This makes our process scaleable to a level where it could be used in industry and have a significant impact on the environment."

The new method developed by the research team at Bath has been shown to work with both carbon dioxide and , and tests have found it to result in a more effective than previous alternatives.

Looking to the future, the team hopes to explore the use of waste heat from power plants to run the process. Dr Mattia said: "By using waste heat we can further reduce the energy required by our method, and in the future it could even become carbon neutral."

The full research paper can be accessed via the RSC website.

Explore further: A dye with tunable optical characteristics

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Technological breakthrough in the fight to cut greenhouse gases

Apr 24, 2008

Scientists at Newcastle University have pioneered breakthrough technology in the fight to cut greenhouse gases. The Newcastle University team, led by Michael North, Professor of Organic Chemistry, has developed a highly energy-efficient ...

Recommended for you

A dye with tunable optical characteristics

Sep 12, 2014

Researchers from RIKEN and the University of Tokyo have developed an organic dye molecule with tunable light-absorption and color characteristics. This development promises to open the door to the creation ...

How salt causes buildings to crumble

Sep 11, 2014

Salt crystals are often responsible when buildings start to show signs of aging. Researchers from the Institute for Building Materials have studied salt damage in greater depth and can now predict weathering ...

User comments : 0