Researchers from the universities of Utrecht and Eindhoven, together with chemical concern BASF, have unraveled the mechanism behind CO2 conversion. “We were able to solve this puzzle thanks to a fantastic partnership”, says research leader Bert Weckhuysen. “This research result is the culmination of a series of publications that have built to this moment.” The researchers are publishing their findings in Nature Communications today.
In their publication, chemists from Utrecht University, Eindhoven University of Technology and BASF used both theoretical and experimental methods to describe how CO2 conversion occurs on the surfaces of metals. The conversion of the greenhouse gas CO2 into useful chemical building blocks for processes such as storing renewable energy from wind or solar power will present a multitude of new possibilities. It can contribute to reducing CO2 emissions, and in principle it can also make it possible to produce basic chemicals directly from CO2.
Three first authors
This publication is unique in that three first authors each made equal contributions to the breakthrough: Charlotte Vogt, Matteo Monai and Ellen Sterk.
Last year, Vogt published an article in Nature Catalysis together with researchers from BASF and other institutions, on how the conversion of CO2 is dependent on the size of the metal nano-particles. She then used that knowledge to produce faster and more efficient catalysts for CO2 conversion.