Chemists at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) are proposing an innovative way to capture carbon using an electrocatalytic rhenium-based system that can reduce CO emissions at low concentrations.2 (even 1%) with high selectivity and durability, which represents a potential new technology for direct use of CO2 in the exhaust gases of heavy industries.
Scientists are closer to finding effective ways to reduce CO2 levels – an essential element of the response to the challenges of climate change and energy efficiency.
A study led by Osamu Ishitani of the Tokyo Tech Department of Chemistry now demonstrates the benefits of applying electrocatalysis1 to capture CO at low concentrations.2.
In their study published in Chemical sciences, Ishitani and his colleagues, including Hiromu Kumagai and Tetsuya Nishikawa, have been building decades of work to develop the capabilities of a rhenium catalyst and have demonstrated its ability to reduce low-level CO emissions.2 in the presence of a chemical called triethanolamine (TEOA).
Compared to many previous studies focused on reducing pure CO2, few have explored ways to improve direct CO capture2 – a topic that deserves further investigation as factories have low levels of CO2 (about 400 ppm, or 0.04% of the atmosphere) and exhaust gases from heavy industries generally contain low levels of CO2 (about 3-13%).
By avoiding the use of energy intensive condensing processes, their strategy, if applied on a larger scale, could provide a more sustainable and environmentally friendly solution for CO2 capture in many contexts.
In a series of experiments to evaluate electrocatalytic activity, researchers discovered that a CO2 concentration of 1%, the rhenium catalyst had a very high selectivity (94%) vis-à-vis the formation of carbon monoxide (CO).
The researchers explain that this performance is probably due to the effective insertion of CO2 in the rhenium-oxygen bond.
Researchers want to systematically pursue research on promising strategies to reduce CO2 levels.
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