Diamond should help to produce fuels and chemicals from carbon dioxide and light. This is the goal of a new research consortium receiving around EUR 3.9 million in funding from the European Union. It is coordinated by Professor Anke Krueger at the University of Würzburg.
To date only nature has been able to create organic substances from sunlight and the gas carbon dioxide, which is available in abundance in the Earth’s atmosphere – doing so in a simple water environment.
It might be possible with the help of diamond to turn carbon dioxide and sunlight into valuable raw materials, such as the gases methane (CH4) and carbon monoxide (CO) or the alcohol methanol.
Image: Anke Krueger
The science world is also keen to master this skill in order to use it to produce fine chemicals or fuels for cars and energy generation, for example. This might work with new technologies based on tailor-made diamond materials.
This development activity will be performed in the new international research consortium DIACAT coordinated by Professor Anke Krueger of the Institute for Organic Chemistry at the University of Würzburg. DIACAT stands for “Diamond materials for the photocatalytic conversion of CO2 to fine chemicals and fuels using visible light”.
The European Union (EU) is supplying the consortium with around EUR 3.9 million in funding over the next four years; a good EUR 615,000 of this will go to the University of Würzburg.
The EU approved the project in its Horizon 2020 program. This invited “novel ideas for radically new technologies”. A total of 670 project proposals were submitted, only 24 of which received a funding commitment. DIACAT is the only project among them that is coordinated by an institution in Germany. It starts on 1 July 2015.
Diamond: What makes it so extraordinary
Diamond consists of pure carbon and is a very unique material. It is not just its proverbial hardness and its jewelry qualities that make it a material of the future. “There is so much more to diamond,” explains the Würzburg chemistry professor. Depending on the manufacturing process, you can equip it with other elements, for example, to create a semiconductor from the perfect electrical insulator.
Diamond also possesses exceptional electronic properties. Thanks to these, it is possible to emit electrons from the surface of a diamond electrode with the help of light. These electrons can then be used in water, for example, for chemical reactions with different starting materials.
Goal: To replace UV light with sunlight
Even the mere possibility of producing electrons dissolved in water is already special. “Yet, the high energy of these electrons also enables reactions that would not be at all possible using other semiconductor materials such as silicon, silicon carbide, or gallium arsenide,” explains Anke Krueger. These reactions include returning carbon dioxide to the chemical cycle.
So far, however, the procedure has only worked with ultraviolet light. “Our goal now is to be able to use the visible light of the sun instead and in doing so develop a particularly environmentally friendly technology,” says the chemist. “If we are successful, this will make a major contribution to generating fuels and chemicals in a manner that conserves resources and it may propel technological change.”
DIACAT: The institutions involved
Work toward this demanding goal will be carried out in DIACAT from July 2015 onwards. The project combines the expertise of six universities and research institutes in the field of diamond materials and electrochemistry.
Alongside Anke Krueger’s team at the University of Würzburg, the parties also involved are the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics in Freiburg (Germany), CEA Saclay (France), Oxford University (UK), the University of Uppsala (Sweden), and the Helmholtz Centre Berlin for Materials and Energy (Germany). The final member of the consortium is the German company Ionic Liquids Technologies GmbH (Heilbronn), a specialist in ionic liquids. Administrative support is provided by the agency GABO:mi in Munich.
Prof. Dr. Anke Krueger, Institute for Organic Chemistry at the University of Würzburg
T +49 (0)931 31-85334, email@example.com
Gunnar Bartsch | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
From ancient fossils to future cars
21.10.2016 | University of California - Riverside
Study explains strength gap between graphene, carbon fiber
20.10.2016 | Rice University
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences