(ECNS) -- A joint Chinese research team has developed a new catalyst to convert carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, into high-purity formic acid, a valuable liquid fuel.
Turning CO2 into chemicals via electrolysis powered by clean energies like wind, water and solar energy is an emerging technology to reuse CO2, which is expected to effectively cut CO2 emissions. However, besides formic acid, this process will also produce other chemicals like ethanol, carbon monoxide and ethylene. Extracting and purifying certain liquids from a electrolyte solution cost too much.
As a result, the research team has developed a copper-based single-atom catalyst that costs less but is active and realized the single conversion from CO2 to formic acid. Meanwhile, based on solid electrolytes, the team also developed a new electrolysis device that can produce pure formic acid liquid fuel without further separation by using CO2 and water catalyzed by the new catalyst.
This achievement promises to lower the separation cost in CO2 electrolysis and boost the industrialization of CO2 conversion favored by green power, which is of great significance to accomplish carbon neutrality and peak carbon dioxide emissions.
The study was published in the academic journal Nature Nanotechnology.