It is possible to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from the surrounding atmosphere and repurpose it into useful chemicals usually made from fossil fuels, according to a study from the University of Surrey. The technology reportedly could allow scientists to capture CO2 and transform it into useful chemicals such as carbon monoxide and synthetic natural gas in one circular process.
“Capturing CO2 from the surrounding air and directly converting it into useful products is exactly what we need to approach carbon neutrality in the chemicals sector. This could very well be a milestone in the steps needed for the UK to reach its 2050 net-zero goals,” says Dr Melis Duyar, senior lecturer of chemical engineering at the University of Surrey in a press release from the institution.
He adds, “We need to get away from our current thinking on how we produce chemicals, as current practices rely on fossil fuels which are not sustainable. With this technology we can supply chemicals with a much lower carbon footprint and look at replacing fossil fuels with carbon dioxide and renewable hydrogen as the building blocks of other important chemicals.”
The technology uses patent-pending switchable Dual Function Materials (DFMs) that capture carbon dioxide on their surface and catalyze the conversion of captured CO2 directly into chemicals. The “switchable” nature of the DFMs comes from their ability to produce multiple chemicals depending on the operating conditions or the composition of the added reactant. This makes the technology responsive to variations in demand for chemicals as well as availability of renewable hydrogen as a reactant. The study published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Nanoscale was made possible through the Surrey Doctoral College Studentship Award.
Read the press release at: www.surrey.ac.uk