Scientists at the University of Reading have now designed super-materials that will absorb and convert CO2 into cheap fuel by using only sunlight. The photo catalyst materials will not only remove CO2 from the atmosphere, they will also convert CO2 into useful chemicals like methanol, which will then be reused as fuel.
A team of scientists from Reading’s Chemistry Department along with collaborators from Spain conducted the study that paves the way for experiments to create the new porous photo catalysts in real life. The proposed materials are based on a precise combination of organic molecules and metals. This study was then published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition.
Dr Ricardo Grau-Crespo, the scientist who led the research mentioned that capturing CO2 emissions and turning them into fuel is already possible, but it is done in a separate process. With the super-material, this can be done in just one solution, which would then save time and money while protecting the environment.
The research team had narrowed down many possible combinations of metal and organic material to the two most effective structures using supercomputer. The combination of simple organic molecules and metal atoms allows fine-tuning of the electronic structure. The team hopes that they will be able to produce and test either one or both of the materials in the following experiments.
The study mentioned above:
R. Grau-Crespo, A. Aziz, A. W. Collins, R. Crespo-Otero, N. C. Hernandez, L. M. Rodriguez-Albelo, A. R. Ruiz-Salvador, S. Calero, S. Hamad. (2016) ‘Modelling a linker mix-and-match approach to engineering the optical excitation gaps and band alignment of zeolitic imadazolate frameworks’. Angewandte Chemie International Edition. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201609439.