Nav: Home

Closing the carbon loop

December 07, 2016

PITTSBURGH (December 7, 2016) ... Research at the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering focused on developing a new catalyst that would lead to large-scale implementation of capture and conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) was recently published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Catalysis Science & Technology.

Principal investigator is Karl Johnson, the William Kepler Whiteford Professor in the Swanson School's Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering. Postdoctoral associate Jingyun Ye is lead author. The article "Catalytic Hydrogenation of CO2 to Methanol in a Lewis Pair Functionalized MOF" (DOI: 10.1039/C6CY01245K), is featured on the cover of Catalysis Science & Technology (vol. 6, no. 24) and builds upon Dr. Johnson's previous research that identified the two main factors for determining the optimal catalyst for turning atmospheric CO2 into liquid fuel. The research was conducted using computational resources at the University's Center for Simulation and Modeling.

Karl Johnson CST cover image"Capture and conversion of CO2 to methanol has the potential to solve two problems at once - reducing net carbon dioxide emissions while generating cleaner fuels," Dr. Johnson explained. "Currently, however, it is a complex and expensive process that is not economically feasible. Because of this, we wanted to simplify the catalytic process as much as possible to create a sustainable and cost-effective method for converting CO2 to fuel - essentially to reduce the number of steps involved from several to one."

Johnson and Ye focused on computationally designing a catalyst capable of producing methanol from CO2 and H2 utilizing metal organic frameworks (MOFs), which potentially provide pathway for a single-process unit for carbon capture and conversion. The MOFs could dramatically reduce the cost of carbon capture and conversion, bringing the potential of CO2 as a viable feedstock for fuels closer to reality.

"Methanol synthesis has been extensively studied because methanol can work in existing systems such as engines and fuel cells, and can be easily transported and stored. Methanol is also a starting point for producing many other useful chemicals," Dr. Johnson said. "This new MOF catalyst could provide the key to close the carbon loop and generate fuel from CO2, analogously to how a plant converts carbon dioxide to hydrocarbons."
-end-
This work was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (Grant No. DE-FG02-10ER16165).

University of Pittsburgh

Related Carbon Capture Articles:

Graphene sheets capture cells efficiently
MIT researchers have developed a new method for capturing cells on a treated graphene oxide surface, which could lead to very low-cost diagnostic systems for a variety of diseases.
Crystallization method offers new option for carbon capture from ambient air
Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have found a simple, reliable process to capture carbon dioxide directly from ambient air, offering a new option for carbon capture and storage strategies to combat global warming.
Enabling direct carbon capture
Researchers have developed a solid material that can capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, even at very low concentrations.
Finding ideal materials for carbon capture
Genetic algorithm can rapidly pinpoint top candidates for pre-combustion carbon capture, information that could lead to greener designs for newly commissioned power plants.
Bacteria could detect leaks at carbon capture sites
Bacteria and archaea could be used to monitor stored carbon dioxide (CO2) and convert it into useful products, such as ethanol and acetate.
More Carbon Capture News and Carbon Capture Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans
More than test scores or good grades — what do kids need to prepare them for the future? This hour, guest host Manoush Zomorodi and TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, in and out of the classroom. Guests include educators Olympia Della Flora and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#535 Superior
Apologies for the delay getting this week's episode out! A technical glitch slowed us down, but all is once again well. This week, we look at the often troubling intertwining of science and race: its long history, its ability to persist even during periods of disrepute, and the current forms it takes as it resurfaces, leveraging the internet and nationalism to buoy itself. We speak with Angela Saini, independent journalist and author of the new book "Superior: The Return of Race Science", about where race science went and how it's coming back.