Nanoparticles To Convert Carbon Dioxide Into Fuel

Gold nanoparticles that use solar energy to convert carbon dioxide into methane could help limit the effects of climate change, say scientists in India.

AsianScientist (Jul. 23, 2019) – Scientists in India have developed a technique to synthesize gold nanoparticles that can convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into methane. Their findings are published in Chemical Science.

Global warming is a serious threat to the planet and its inhabitants. One of the main causes of global warming is the increase in atmospheric CO2 levels. The main source of this CO2 is the burning of fossil fuels.

Seeking to convert atmospheric CO2 into useful substances, researchers at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, India, devised a method to create dendritic plasmonic colloidosomes (DPCs) comprising gold nanoparticles for the catalysis of CO2 into methane. The process they invented involves a cycle-by-cycle growth approach, with optimization of the nucleation-growth step.

The researchers showed that their DPCs absorbed the entire visible and near-infrared region of sunlight, which was used for the conversion of CO2 to methane at atmospheric pressure and temperature. They also demonstrated that their DPCs can purify seawater to drinkable water via steam generation, temperature jump assisted protein unfolding, oxidation of cinnamyl alcohol using pure oxygen as the oxidant, and hydrosilylation of aldehydes.

The researchers explained that by changing the size and gaps between the gold nanoparticles that make up the DPCs, they can control the resultant properties and functions of the DPCs. They also noted that their work is a way forward to develop ‘artificial trees’ which capture and convert CO2 to fuel and useful chemicals.

The article can be found at: Dhiman et al. (2019) Plasmonic Colloidosomes of Black Gold for Solar Energy Harvesting and Hotspots Directed Catalysis for CO2 to Fuel Conversion.


Source: Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR). Photo: TIFR.
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