Discovery of a Ni-Ga catalyst for CO2 reduction to methanol

The use of methanol as a fuel and chemical feedstock could become very important in the development of a more sustainable society if methanol could be efficiently obtained from the direct reduction of CO2 using solar-generated hydrogen. Here, we report the discovery of a Ni-Ga catalyst that reduces CO2 to methanol at ambient pressure.

F. Studt1, I. Sharafutdinov2, F. Abild-Pedersen1, C. F. Elkjær2, J. S. Hummelshøj1, S. Dahl2, I. Chorkendorff2 and J. K. Nørskov1,3*

NATURE CHEMISTRY; Published online 02 March 2014

Læs også: Ny teknik laver CO2 om til klimavenligt brændstof Videnskab.dk 12 May 2014

Nature reduces CO2 photochemically to store energy, and devising an artificial process to replicate this remains one of the grand challenges in modern chemistry. One possibility, which is currently the subject of very active research, is a photo-electrochemical process, but finding an electrocatalyst that is selective and has a low overpotential is challenging. An alternative approach would be to first generate molecular hydrogen via a photo-electrochemical process or an electrochemical process using electrical power from photovoltaic cells or wind turbines. If the hydrogen were then used in a heterogeneously catalysed process to reduce CO2 to methanol, a sustainable source of liquid fuel would be established.

In the present article, we report the discovery of a new, nonprecious metal catalyst working at low pressure with similar or higher methanol yield than the current Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 methanol synthesis catalyst. We use a computational descriptor-based approach to guide us towards a new class of Ni-Ga catalysts and show experimentally that it has the unique property that it reduces CO2 to methanol without producing large amounts of CO via the rWGS reaction.

NiGacatalyst_figure

Read more:

Newly discovered catalyst could lead to the low-cost production of clean methanol
Nanowerk.com

Affiliations:

1SUNCAT Center for Interface Science and Catalysis, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, 2575 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, California 94025, USA
2Centre for Individual Nanoparticle Functionality (CINF), Department of Physics, Building 307 Technical University of Denmark, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
3SUNCAT Center for Interface Science and Catalysis, Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA. 
*e-mail: norskov@stanford.edu


Contact

Ib Chorkendorff
Professor
DTU Physics
+45 45 25 31 70