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Making ethanol fuel from CO2 may be viable

Discussion in 'Education & Research' started by VCheng, Oct 19, 2016.

  1. VCheng

    VCheng RIDER REGISTERED

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    This has the potential of being a breakthrough advance:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/slct.201601169/full

    High-Selectivity Electrochemical Conversion of CO2 to Ethanol using a Copper Nanoparticle/N-Doped Graphene Electrode
    Authors

    Abstract


    Though carbon dioxide is a waste product of combustion, it can also be a potential feedstock for the production of fine and commodity organic chemicals provided that an efficient means to convert it to useful organic synthons can be developed. Herein we report a common element, nanostructured catalyst for the direct electrochemical conversion of CO2 to ethanol with high Faradaic efficiency (63 % at −1.2 V vs RHE) and high selectivity (84 %) that operates in water and at ambient temperature and pressure. Lacking noble metals or other rare or expensive materials, the catalyst is comprised of Cu nanoparticles on a highly textured, N-doped carbon nanospike film. Electrochemical analysis and density functional theory (DFT) calculations suggest a preliminary mechanism in which active sites on the Cu nanoparticles and the carbon nanospikes work in tandem to control the electrochemical reduction of carbon monoxide dimer to alcohol.

    Introduction
    Closing the carbon cycle by utilizing CO2 as a feedstock for currently used commodities, in order to displace a fossil feedstock, is an appropriate intermediate step towards a carbon-free future. Direct electrochemical conversion of CO2 to useful products has been under investigation for a few decades. Metal-based catalysts, such as copper,[1] platinum,[2] iron,[3] tin,[4] silver,[5] and gold,[6] along with carbons such as g-C3N4 [7] have been the primary focus for CO2 reduction, with some very high Faradaic efficiencies for methane conversion. Copper is arguably the best-known metal catalyst for electrochemical CO2 reduction,[8] capable of electrochemically converting CO2 into more than 30 different products,[9] including carbon monoxide (CO), formic acid (HCOOH), methane (CH4) and ethylene (C2H4) or ethane (C2H6), but efficiency and selectivity for any product heavier than methane are far too low for practical use.[10] Competing reactions limit the yield of any one liquid product to single-digit percentages.[8]

    .............................


    Conclusion
    We report an electrocatalyst which operates at room temperature and in water for the electroreduction of dissolved CO2 with high selectivity for ethanol. The overpotential (which might be lowered with the proper electrolyte, and by separating the hydrogen production to another catalyst) probably precludes economic viability for this catalyst, but the high selectivity for a 12-electron reaction suggests that nanostructured surfaces with multiple reactive sites in close proximity can yield novel reaction mechanisms. This suggests that the synergistic effect from interactions between Cu and CNS presents a novel strategy for designing highly selective electrocatalysts. While the entire reaction mechanism has not yet been elucidated, further details would be revealed from conversion of potential intermediates (e. g. CO, formic acid and acetaldehyde) in future work.
     
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  2. Inactive

    Inactive Guest

    Are you working in this field? I think we are already into hybrid fuel. I recall India allowing for the same a few years back.
     
  3. VCheng

    VCheng RIDER REGISTERED

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    No. I just read widely. Jack of many trades, master of only a few. :D
     
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  4. Inactive

    Inactive Guest


    Ditto ... we must share notes ... may head to states side in May on leisure trip:coffee:
     
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  5. VCheng

    VCheng RIDER REGISTERED

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    Give me a heads up if you can.
     
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  6. Himanshu Pandey

    Himanshu Pandey Don't get mad, get even. STAR MEMBER

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    is it economically viable.. as we are still not running a single plant for coal to deisel... this may be not implemented in a India any time soon.

    and with all those sugar mills making ethenol which is economic and cheap.. I don't think there is even a need for this right now.

    but yes a tech like this is good.
     
  7. VCheng

    VCheng RIDER REGISTERED

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    It is still a pilot study and not economically viable at the small scale. But the authors have identified areas where improvements will result in better viability, specially if scaled up.
     
  8. Himanshu Pandey

    Himanshu Pandey Don't get mad, get even. STAR MEMBER

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    hope it just don't become another gold mining cabbage thing.
     
  9. VCheng

    VCheng RIDER REGISTERED

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    At least the paper was not sourced from the Agha Waqar Institute of Wondrous Pakistanian Technology, thank heavens for that! :D
     
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