Scientists use doped graphene quantum dots to reduce carbon dioxide to fuel.

According to Rice University scientists, graphene quantum dots may offer a simple way to recycle waste carbon dioxide into valuable fuel, rather than release it into the atmosphere.

Using electrocatalysis, They have demonstrated the conversion of the greenhouse gas into small batches of ethylene and ethanol.

A single nitrogen-doped graphene quantum dot with zig-zag edges. (Credit: Ajayan Group/Rice University)

Though they don’t entirely understand the mechanism, the researchers found NGQDs worked nearly as efficiently as copper, which is also being tested as a catalyst to reduce carbon dioxide into liquid fuels and chemicals.



Rice materials scientist and research team leader Pulickel Ajayan, said:

“It is surprising because people have tried all different kinds of catalysts. And there are only a few real choices such as copper. I think what we found is fundamentally interesting, because it provides an efficient pathway to screen new types of catalysts to convert carbon dioxide to higher-value products.”

Co-author Paul Kenis of the University of Illinois, said:

“If we can convert a sizable fraction of the carbon dioxide that is emitted, we could curb the rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, which have been linked to climate change.”

The research is detailed this week in Nature Communications.

via newatlas