Hi everyone, welcome to another Green Tech Thursday.
Today’s topic is 3-D hierarchically porous nanostructured catalysts.
Our fanciest title so far! To simplify that a little bit, today we will learn about a catalyst that converts CO2 (carbon dioxide) to CO (carbon monoxide). Carbon dioxide levels have skyrocketed after the industrial revolution and have contributed to a range of problems such as air pollution and climate change. Because we are still quite dependent on burning fossil fuels, CO2 levels will continue to rise, forcing us to find ways to reduce and convert the CO2 we produce into less harmful substances, in this case that substance is carbon monoxide and the process is electrochemical conversion.
The process of converting CO2 to CO is not new but there has been a massive leap in increasing the effectiveness by redesigning the structure of the catalyst. To give some backstory, gold has been the go-to substance used for CO2 conversion but it is quite rare, making mass production of these catalysts a bit difficult. To overcome this obstacle, researchers have looked into using nanostructures to make the process as effective as possible but they quickly realised that CO bubbles were clogging the pores in the catalyst, decreasing the conversion rate by quite a bit.
Fortunately, this problem has been solved with a new, 3-D hierarchically porous nanostructured catalyst design! The title makes more sense now doesn’t it 😉? This new catalyst is 3.96 times more effective than other designs (that is amazing!) and can be applied to a whole range of green tech that utilizes electrocatalysts. How did they solve this problem? They implemented two different sizes of pores, large ones and small ones. This way, the CO bubbles won’t clog the passageways and the catalyst can be used for longer and with greater efficiency!
When can we see these new catalysts being used? It’s hard to give an exact date but it was developed on March 4th of 2020 which makes me think that it can be put to use in the next few years.
Thanks for reading and see you next week!
Have a wonderful Thursday!