Find a way to CO2 conversion into plastics, building materials and even medicines

Carbon dioxide is a waste product during the production of many kinds. And it is known, not only pollute the environment, but is also one of the causes of global warming. Therefore, if we care about the future of our planet - we need to reduce its content in the atmosphere. But what if you do not just "deactivate" the carbon dioxide and produce from it useful materials? Sounds at first glance, it is not realistic, but that is exactly what has been made possible thanks to a new type of catalysts.

Find a way to CO2 conversion into plastics, building materials and even medicines

About invention writes the edition Energy & Environmental Science. A substance that will help to make us the seemingly impossible is classified as electrocatalysts. This is the first in the world of materials other than enzymes of living organisms, that can with an efficiency of approximately 99% to convert carbon dioxide and water in the carbon structure containing one, two, three or four carbon atoms. For example, two such structures methylglyoxal (containing 3 carbon atoms) and 2, 3-furandiol (4 atom) may be used as raw materials for plastics, adhesives and pharmaceuticals.

Find a way to CO2 conversion into plastics, building materials and even medicines

Schematic representation of the conversion of carbon dioxide into the plastic process, the resources for the production of various materials and medicines

"Our breakthrough allows you to convert carbon dioxide into a raw material for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry." - said one of the project leaders, Professor Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Rutgers University in New Brunswick Charles Dismuks,

Using five different catalysts of nickel and phosphorus, which are fairly cheap and abundant elements, researchers can electrochemically convert carbon dioxide and water in a wide range of carbon-based products. The choice of catalyst and the appropriate conditions determined how many carbon atoms may be coupled together to receive the molecules or even longer polymers.

The next step in the work of the scientists is to find out whether it is possible to use the new technology for the production of diols, which are widely used in the plastics industry, as well as the extent to which justified the use of technology for the production of hydrocarbons, which can be used to create renewable fuels.

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