Carbon dioxide is a by-product of energy production, but must it always be viewed as a waste product? This gas could be a useful renewable resource and an environmentally friendly chemical reagent.
If we really could use it, it would not just reduce the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but also our dependence on petrochemicals, which will eventually start to run out. In the journal Angewandte Chemie French scientists working with Thibault Cantat at the Institut Rayonnement Matière de Saclay in Gif-sur-Yvette have now introduced a new approach for the conversion of carbon dioxide into both useable building blocks for chemical synthesis and new fuels.
“Carbon dioxide is a nontoxic, abundant C1 building block,” says Cantat. “Only a handful of processes using this starting material have been developed, because carbon dioxide is a very stable molecule that can not easily be made to react.” To date, there have been two different approaches for the use of carbon dioxide. According to Cantat, “In the ‘vertical’ approach, the carbon dioxide is reduced, which means that the oxidation state of the carbon atom is reduced by the formal replacement of oxygen with hydrogen. This results in molecules such as methanol or formic acid, which can be converted into fuels.” These products have a higher energy content than carbon dioxide, but only a handful of chemicals can be produced this way.
“In the ‘horizontal’ approach, the carbon atom is functionalized, which means that it forms new bonds to oxygen, nitrogen, or other carbon atoms”, continues Cantat. “The oxidation state stays the same, the energy content is not increased.” This does not produce fuels, but chemicals that are useful building blocks for chemical syntheses, such as urea.
The French team thus tried a compromise approach, a combination of both methods to make a “diagonal” approach. By their method, the carbon dioxide is both reduced and functionalized in one step. This allows the synthesis of a much greater number of chemicals, directly from CO2.
This reaction requires three things: a reducing agent (e.g. a silane), an organic molecule to be attached to the carbon atom of the carbon dioxide (e.g. an amine), and a special catalyst that catalyzes both the reduction and the functionalization. The successful catalyst is a special organic base consisting of a nitrogen-containing ring system. “Variation of the reaction partners should allow us to make a whole series of chemical compounds that are normally obtained from petrochemical feedstocks,” says Cantat, “for example, formamide derivatives, which are important intermediates for both chemical and pharmaceutical industries.”
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201105516
Thibault Cantat | Angewandte Chemie
BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility
14.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)
Guardians of the Gate
14.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2017 | Life Sciences
14.12.2017 | Life Sciences