Researchers discover metal catalysts to convert CO2 into fuel

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In a bid to tackle global warming, the conversion of carbon dioxide into fuel could be a step closer using a supercomputer. Researchers have identified a group of ‘single-atom’ catalysts that could play a key role.

A team of researchers at the Centre for Materials Science, QUT used theoretical modeling to identify six metals. These metals were found to be effective for a reaction that could convert carbon dioxide into clean and feasible sources of energy.

The findings of the study is published in Nature Communications.

For the study, researchers modeled experiments at the National Computational Infrastructure, Australian National University. This was to examine how single atoms of metals react with two-dimensional pieces of ferroelectric materials.

Meanwhile, ferroelectric substances have a positive charge on one side, and negative on the other. This polarization can be reversed if voltage is applied.

For theoretical modeling, adding of the atom of the catalyst metal to the ferroelectric material led to conversion of greenhouse gas into a desired chemical fuel.

On reversal of polarity, the state is preserved to act as a catalyst to convert carbon dioxide.

In fact, single-atom catalysts to reduce carbon dioxide was proposed a decade ago, stated one of the experts. And, this research takes the field forward significantly.

Elaborately, the researchers designed a special chemical catalyst. It converts the greenhouse gas CO2 into desired chemical fuels. The efficiency of conversion can be controlled using a feasible method, added the expert.

This implies for the first time abilities have been developed to speed up or slow down, or even switch off the chemical reaction.

From an environmental perspective, carbon dioxide is a key reason for global warming due to the greenhouse effect. Therefore, to convert it into chemical fuels is important for the environment as also helps to address the crisis.

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