This electrode is capable of efficiently converting carbon dioxide gas into carbon-based fuels and chemicals, which will help in combating climate change.
The research team of this study includes researchers from the University of Bath, Fudan University, Shanghai, and the Shanghai Institute of Pollution Control and Ecological Security. They are expecting that this catalyst design would eventually allow the use of renewable electricity to convert CO2 into fuels without creating additional atmospheric carbon. Although this reaction has exciting potential, it has poor conversion efficiency and does not have detailed knowledge about the exact reaction pathway.
These challenges can be addressed using the new electrode, which is in bowl shape. It works six times faster than standard planar or flat designs. Due to the bowl-like shape of the design, electric fields are concentrated on its hot edges, which is the rim of the bowl. Furthermore, it then concentrates positively charged potassium ions on the active sites of the reaction, reducing its energy requirements. Moreover, this electrode can be used to study the reaction process via measuring the Raman signal, which is higher compared to a typical electrode.
Professor Ventsislav Valev, from the University of Bath's Department of Physics said, “There is no more pressing human need than breathing. Yet for hundreds of million people this most basic activity is a source of anxiety over lowering life expectancy, rising child mortality and climate change. There is evidence that CO2 increases surface ozone, carcinogens, and particulate matter, thereby increasing death, asthma, hospitalization, and cancer rates. It is therefore crucial to keep researching new ways for lowing the CO2 levels in the atmosphere.” The research team will continue their research to develop more and more new efficient catalysts with the intention of reducing carbon.