New process gives CO2 conversion more “bang for the buck”


A new chemical process is giving carbon capture and conversion (CCC) “more bang for the buck” by more efficiently converting captured CO2 into multi-carbon products like ethylene, which are used in a wide range of everyday products from pharmaceuticals to plastics.

Researchers at the University of Sydney and the University of Toronto have devised a new acid-based electrochemical process for the conversion of CO2 captured from emission sources or directly from the air.

CCC is gaining momentum worldwide, with the Australian Academy of Science recently publishing a report urging the necessity of coupling carbon capture with a reduction in emissions to cap global heating at 1.5°C.

The new paper, published in Nature Synthesis, differs from previous CO2 conversion methods in that it uses an acidic – not alkaline or neutral – reactive chemical, with the experimental study rendering a twofold improvement in energy efficiency compared to the team’s previous benchmark work, when converting CO2 to multicarbon products such as ethylene and ethanol.

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