Scientists from Berkeley Lab and and Nanyang Technological University found a new kind of photocatalyst which helps to turn CO2 into flammable CO without creating poisonous by-product.
The team led by Zheng Haimei from Berkeley designed a Ni-organic catalyst called MOF through photochemical route. Different from traditional MOF which is rigid, the new material is flexible, spongy and therefore highly efficient.
This research is published in Science Advances on July 28, pointing out that the catalyst is highly active in converting CO2 to CO. No measurable H2 is generated during the reaction, which means CO2 is completely converted to CO.
"It's amazing that we showed nearly 100% selective CO production, not detecting other gases like H2 or CH4. We need one product in the reaction, not the mixture of many," said Zheng." No team has done this successfully before us."
This achievement will give a solution to the problem of converting CO2 into tradable products. An award named "Carbon X" is sponsoring this kind of researches which contribute to fighting global warming with a total of 20,000,000 US dollars.
"The world needs a substitute for fossil fuel as well as ways to eliminate CO2 in the atmosphere," said Zheng. "Achieving such a spongy catalyst is an essential step towards the efficient use of solar power in producing high-value multi-carbon fuel."