Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the major greenhouse gases causing global warming. If carbon dioxide could be converted into energy, it would be killing two birds with one stone in addressing the environmental issues. A new photocatalyst is developed recently, which can produce methane fuel (CH4) selectively and effectively from carbon dioxide using sunlight. According to this research, the quantity of methane produced was almost doubled in the first 8 hours of the reaction process.

The research was conducted collaboratively by Australia, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom. 

Inspired by the photosynthesis in nature, carbon dioxide can now be converted effectively into methane fuel by the newly designed solar-powered catalyst, which will lower carbon emission. Furthermore, this new catalyst is made from copper-based materials, which is abundant and hence affordable.

It is found that cuprous oxide (Cu2O), a semiconducting material, has been applied as both photocatalyst and electrocatalyst to reduce carbon dioxide into other chemical products like carbon monoxide and methane in different studies. However, it faces several limitations in the reduction process, including its inferior stability and the non-selective reduction which causes the formation of an array of various products. Separation and purification of these products from the mixture can be highly challenging and this imposes technological barrier for large scale application. Furthermore, cuprous oxide can be easily corroded after brief illumination and evolve into metallic copper or copper oxide.

To overcome these challenges, a novel photocatalyst is synthesized by enwrapping cuprous oxide with copper-based metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Using this new catalyst, pure methane gas can selectively be produced.  When compared with cuprous oxide without MOF shell, cuprous oxide with MOF shell reduced carbon dioxide into methane stably under visible-light irradiation with an almost doubled yield. Also, cuprous oxide with MOF shell was more durable and the maximum carbon dioxide uptake was almost seven times of the bare cuprous oxide.

Moreover, the research team discovered that the cuprous oxide was stabilized by the conformal coating of MOF. The excited charges in cuprous oxide upon illumination could efficiently migrate to the MOF. In this way, excessive accumulation of excited charges within the catalyst, which could lead to self-corrosion, was avoided. Hence extended the catalyst’s lifetime. The next step will be to further increase the methane production rate and explore ways to scale up both the synthesis of the catalyst and the reactor systems. In the entire process of converting carbon dioxide to methane, the only energy input we have used was sunlight. We hope in the future, carbon dioxide emitted from factories and transportation can be ‘recycled’ to produce alternate fuels.

Reference: Angewandte Chemie, titled “Metal-Organic Frameworks Decorated Cuprous Oxide Nanowires for Long-lived Charges Applied in Selective Photocatalytic CO2 Reduction to CH4”

More News
Lynparza shows promise in preventing cancer recurrence
News · 16/06/2021

AstraZeneca and MSD’s Lynparza (olaparib) has shown efficacy in preventing cancer recurrence in patients with germline BRCA-mutated (gBRCAm) high-risk human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative early breast cancer.

READ MORE
Is ammonia the fuel of the future?
News · 15/06/2021

Ammonia saved the world once; it might do it again. A century ago, the world faced a looming food crisis. A booming population was pushing farmers to grow crops faster than nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the soil could keep up, and the South American deposits of guano and natural nitrates they applied as fertilizer were dwindling.

READ MORE
Lipids – The unsung vaccine component
News · 15/06/2021

Lipids are an unsung component in the two mRNA-based shots, the only vaccines to be approved so far in the US. Naked mRNA quickly degrades in the body and can trigger an unwanted immune reaction. To get the genetic material to its target cells, vaccine developers combine it with a mixture of several sophisticated lipids to form lipid nanoparticles, or LNPs. mRNA vaccine producers use a package of 4 lipids to formulate their LNPs

READ MORE
Short-lived romance: Pharma industry facing heat for Covid vaccine failures, greed
News · 01/06/2021

An unprecedented push to manufacture billions of doses this year alone has led to supply bottlenecks, putting firms such as Pfizer and AstraZeneca Plc in the firing line of angry government customers. Now the industry is taking heat for closely guarding its intellectual property.

READ MORE
Australian Vaccine First In World To Show Ability To Totally Block Covid-19 Virus Transmission
News · 01/06/2021

Australian company, Vaxine Pty Ltd, has developed a protein based COVID-19 vaccine that completely blocks virus transmission to non-immune individuals.

READ MORE
As consciousness about nutrition, health rises in post-COVID world, demand for Organic Food is set to surge
News · 01/06/2021

If one positive could be drawn out of the devastating global COVID 19 crisis, it is the fact that this calamitous pandemic has made people more conscious about the need for healthier lifestyles, nutrition as well as their environmental footprint.

READ MORE
India’s Covid crisis & its impact on Global Shipping
News · 01/06/2021

India’s devastating Covid-19 crisis is threatening operations at some of its biggest ports, raising concerns. The action could trigger shipping delays that reverberate through global supply chains.

READ MORE
Khaana Chahiye | Fighting Hunger in Mumbai
News · 19/05/2021

A team of driven, concerned, caring citizens who decided to make a difference!

READ MORE
Molnupiravir – An investigational antiviral treatment developed in oral dosage form to fight against coronavirus and future pandemics:
News · 03/05/2021

Over the last year, several drugs have either been developed or tested to treat coronavirus. Now there’s another new antiviral drug that’s showing some promise by demonstrating ability to stop SARS-CoV-2 transmission within 24 hour!

READ MORE