Professor Jingguang Chen and two of his PhD students published a perspective study on the net reduction of CO2

Apr 18 2019

Research efforts on the catalytic reduction of CO2 have accelerated rapidly over the last decade across fields of engineering, chemistry, and materials science, with the goal of mitigating CO2 concentration in atmosphere.  However, it can be difficult to benchmark small-scale results within the context of global sustainability targets, for example, does the lab-scale CO2 conversion really lead to a net reduction in CO2 concentration.  Professor Jingguang Chen and two of his PhD students, Brian Tackett and Elaine Gomez, recently published a perspective study on the net reduction of CO2 via catalytic reactions in Nature Catalysis. The article provides a chemical engineering analysis of recent catalyst technology to understand the state of catalyst progress toward the goal of reducing atmospheric carbon. Mass and energy balances of thermocatalytic and electrocatalytic reactors combined with Aspen simulations show that CO2 conversion technology needs to be powered by energy emitting less than 0.2 kg of CO2 per kWh in order to provide a net reduction of CO2.  The article also concludes that electrocatalysts must improve reaction rates by at least two orders of magnitude to achieve reasonable capital costs.  This fundamental chemical engineering analysis provides a big-picture roadmap toward catalytic CO2 reduction that bridges the knowledge gap between laboratory results and practical application.

Nature Catalysis