How Can Copper Catalysts Convert Carbon Dioxide into Methane?

Rice University materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan and collaborators developed a new way to convert carbon dioxide to methane, a valuable fuel and industrial feedstock. The method relies on electrolysis and catalysts developed by grafting isolated copper atoms on two-dimensional polymer templates. The catalysts assemble at room temperature in water and enabled the reduction of carbon dioxide to methane in one half of the cell, while oxygen was produced from water in the other half. The catalysts developed by Roy and collaborators yielded one of the most rapid and efficient electrolysis-based conversions of carbon dioxide to methane known so far, helping advance the conversion process both in terms of fundamental scientific insight and performance level.

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