New process efficiently recycles excess CO2 into fuel


A new study has introduced an electrochemical reaction, enhanced by polymers, to improve CO2-to-ethylene conversion efficiency.

Led by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Chemistry Progressor Andrew Gewirth and Graduate Student Xinyi Chen, the study reports that by allowing CO2 to flow through a reaction chamber fitter with copper electrodes and an electrolyte solution is the most common method researchers use to convert CO2 to useful carbon-containing chemicals.

“Copper metal is highly selective toward the type of carbon that forms ethylene. Different electrode materials will produce different chemicals like carbon monoxide instead of ethylene, or a mix of other carbon chemicals. What we have done in this study is to design a new kind of copper electrode that produces almost entirely ethylene,” Gewirth said.

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