Researchers at Ruhr-Univeritat Bochum in Germany and University of New South Wales in Australia are onto converting CO2 into byproducts. As per these researchers, it can be converted to valuable resources.
Basically, they used the principle of enzymes where the chemicals use multi-step reactions to produce complex molecules. When mechanism is transposed on metallic nanoparticles, carbon dioxide produced ethanol and propanol. And, it is important to note here that are raw materials for a number of industries, particularly chemical.
Background of the Study:
Professor Wolfgang Schuhmann from the Center for Electrochemistry in Bochum led the study. And, Professor Cornia Andronescu, Professor Justin Gooding and Professor Richard Tilley joined him in his study. The former is from University of Duisburg-Essen. The details are in Journal of the American Chemical Society.
As per Schuhmann, the decisive step could be transferring the enzyme reactions to nanoparticles which are catalytically active.
And, it is important to note here that for cascade reactions, enzymes have different centers that are active. Thus, a simple start can produce a complex product from a single enzyme.
Researchers used a particle enclosed by a layer of copper which was porous. Besides, the core was silver. Here, the core was the first active center; copper enclosure second. The result was that intermediate products formed in the first active center and complex one in the second. Furthermore, these complex products left the particle eventually.
Also, in this work, the team showed that using nanoenzymes, carbon dioxide can be successfully reduced electrochemically. And, that a number of steps through silver and copper lead to production of ethanol and propanol.
As per Wolfgang, as of now, it is possible to obtain these products without the cascade reaction. But the energy used is way more.
Going forward, the researchers want to refine the cascade reaction using nanoparticles. As, they want to focus on creating better products than two mentioned above. And, they want to do it in a selective manner.