Electrode's 'hot edges' convert CO2 gas into fuels and chemicals

phys.org | 4/5/2019 | Staff
max1max1 (Posted by) Level 4
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A team of scientists has created a bowl-shaped electrode with 'hot edges' which can efficiently convert CO2 from gas into carbon based fuels and chemicals, helping combat the climate change threat posed by atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The research team, from the University of Bath, Fudan University, Shanghai, and the Shanghai Institute of Pollution Control and Ecological Security, hopes the catalyst design will eventually allow the use of renewable electricity to convert CO2 into fuels without creating additional atmospheric carbon—essentially acting like an electrochemical 'leaf' to convert carbon dioxide into sugars.

Reaction - Reduction - Carbon - Dioxide - Obstacles

Using this reaction, known as the reduction of carbon dioxide, has exciting potential but two major obstacles are poor conversion efficiency of the reaction and a lack of detailed knowledge about the exact reaction pathway.

This new electrode addresses these challenges with higher conversion efficiency and sensitive detection of molecules created along the reaction's progress—thanks to its innovative shape and construction. The bowl shaped electrode works six times faster than standard planar—or flat—designs.

Shape - Design - Structure - Concentrates - Fields

The bowl-like shape of the design, technically known as an "inverse opal structure" concentrates electric fields on its hot edges—the rim of the bowl—which then concentrates positively charged potassium ions on the active sites of the reaction, reducing its energy requirements.

The Copper-Indium alloy electrode can also be useful to sensitively study the reaction process via measuring the Raman signal, which is higher compared to a typical electrode.

Study

The study is...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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