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
NEW DRUGS (AMENDMENT) RULES,2022 MANDATES QR CODES FOR ACTIVE PHARMACEUTICAL INGREDIENTS
News · 01/07/2022

The amendment makes QR codes mandatory on every active pharmaceutical ingredient. The Amendment Rules will come into force from January 01, 2023.

READ MORE
European Green Deal
News · 01/07/2022

On June 22, 2022, the Commission adopted pioneering proposals to restore damaged ecosystems and bring nature back across Europe, from agricultural land and seas, to forests and urban environments. The Commission also proposes to reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides by 50% by 2030.

READ MORE
Neoadjuvant Dostarlimab is a promising treatment option in locally advanced dMMR rectal cancer
News · 01/07/2022

According to New York Times, in a small clinical trial, 18 patients took a drug called Dostarlimab for around six months, and in the end, every one of them saw their tumours disappear.

READ MORE
Global recession? Not yet…
News · 02/06/2022

As the war in Ukraine and pandemic disruptions continue to wreak havoc on supply chains, stagflation is here to stay – marked by low growth and high inflation for at least the next 12 months.

The pandemic as well as the war in Ukraine have stifled supply of commodities and goods and upended efficient distribution through global supply chains, forcing up prices of everyday goods such as fuel and food.

READ MORE
Roche develops unique PCR tests to detect the monkeypox virus
News · 01/06/2022

Roche and its subsidiary TIB Molbiol have developed three unique LightMix® Modular Virus kits in response to recent monkeypox virus concerns. Multiple clusters of the monkeypox virus have been reported within the past two weeks in several European countries and North America, which are regions where the virus is not normally found.

READ MORE
Containers pile up in Shanghai port on China’s COVID lockdowns
News · 02/05/2022

The strictest COVID -19 lockdown in China since the pandemic began has resulted in container goods sitting at Shanghai’s port for nearly two weeks.

READ MORE
Could cyber-physical watermarks be the key to pill-level traceability?
News · 01/04/2022

New anti-counterfeit technology, called a cyber-physical watermark, leverages edible fluorescent silk to identify medications.

READ MORE
World economy faces supply hit as China battles Covid
News · 01/04/2022

The global economy — already struggling with war in Ukraine and the stagflation risks it’s fanning — is bracing for greater disruption as China scrambles to contain its worst outbreak of Covid-19 since the pandemic began.

READ MORE
Impact of Oil hitting a seven-year high on world economy
News · 02/03/2022

Oil prices surged past $100 (£74) a barrel to hit their highest level for more than seven years after Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine.

READ MORE