A team of researchers at the University of Delaware has developed a highly selective catalyst capable of electro-chemically converting carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) to carbon monoxide with 92 percent efficiency. The resulting carbon monoxide can be used as an industry feedstock for producing synthetic fuels, while reducing industrial carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 40 percent.
It was found that when a nano-porous silver electro-catalyst was used, it was 3000 times more active than polycrystalline silver, a catalyst commonly used in converting carbon dioxide to useful chemicals.
Silver is considered a promising material for a carbon dioxide reduction catalyst because of it offers high selectivity approximately 81 percent and because it costs much less than other precious metal catalysts. Additionally, because it is inorganic, silver remains more stable under harsh catalytic environments.
Green House Gases
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone.
[The researchers recently reported their findings in Nature Communications.]