Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) researchers have successfully developed a new method for producing graphene from carbon dioxide.
This new development could help contain greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as well as reduce the ill-effects of global-warming.
Scientists have of late not only been searching for alternative energy sources but also for alternative uses of carbon dioxide.
One feasible option is using carbon dioxide as an inexpensive raw material for the synthesis of valuable materials, and then feeding it back into the reusability cycle.
This can be observed in photosynthesis where the combination of light, water and carbon dioxide creates biomass, closing the natural material cycle.
In this process, it is the job of the metal-based enzyme RuBisCo to absorb the carbon dioxide from the air and make it usable for the further chemical reactions in the plant.
Taking a cue from this, KIT scientists have now presented a process that directly converts carbon dioxide together with hydrogen gas into graphene at temperatures of up to 1000 degrees Celsius.
This was made possible with the help of specially prepared, catalytically active metal surfaces.
Several working groups at KIT have collaborated to present a method in the ‘ChemSusChem’ journal for separating graphene from carbon dioxide and hydrogen by means of a metal catalyst.
According to head of the study, Professor Mario Ruben, “If the metal surface exhibits the correct ratio of copper and palladium, the conversion of carbon dioxide to graphene will take place directly in a simple one-step process.”
The researchers were also able to produce graphene several layers thick for possible applications in batteries, electronic components or filter materials.
The working group’s next research goal is to form functioning electronic components for future quantum computers from the graphene thus obtained.
Image and content: E. Moreno-Pineda/KIT