13 Feb 2024 14:00

Design of nanomaterials for the conversion of CO2 into methanol

Conference Room Orio Zanetto, Campus Scientifico, Mestre

Seminar with Dr. Thomas Len, Universidad de Cordoba, Spain.

Organized by Dt. Daily Rodriguez Padron



The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has been increasing steadily since the first industrial revolution in the 18th century, with a more and more rapid evolution in recent years. It is undeniable that this increase in concentration comes from human activity and the 35,000 Mt of anthropogenic CO2 released into the atmosphere yearly. By itself, the carbon dioxide is responsible for 45% of the greenhouse gas effect, thus, the carbon capture and utilization is a key strategy to tackle global warming. The obtention of a valuable green fuel and platform molecule such as methanol from this greenhouse gas can pave the way to a more sustainable future by following the “methanol economy” concept. The methanol synthesis from CO2 can be achieved using electro --, bio --, photo or thermal catalysis with appropriate catalysts .
In this talk, after presenting a quick introduction on different CO2 utilization processes, the CO2 hydrogenation to methanol over Mo/TiO 2 single atom catalysts and the CO2 photoreduction to methanol over waste derived carbon nanodots will be detailed.
For the CO2 hydrogenation to methanol , beyond the industrial Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 syngas to methanol catalyst, alternative materials have been suggested to enhance both the methanol yield and the catalyst stability. However, these catalysts often rely on rare and/or strategic elements such as Au, Pd, In, Ga, Zn, and Ce. Therefore, the elaboration of a novel, green, non critical and cost effective alternative is desirable. Previously described as inactive, the Mo/TiO 2 system was recently revealed efficient for CO2 hydrogenation to methanol. It appeared that the reaction kinetics strongly depends on the titania phase, rutile nanorods (RNRs) exhibiting the best performance. Moreover, the potential of molybdenum ultradispersed on other transition metal oxides, such as CeO2 , ZnO, Al2O3 , and ZrO2 for methanol synthesis from CO2 . In the (most promising) case of titania, an in depth operando X ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) investigation was carried out to decipher the nature of the active phase.
Concerning the photoreduction approach, the sunlight driven photocatalytic process has the advantage to be both environmentally and economically friendly without requiring any additional energy. Various catalytic systems based on metals including noble metals have been proposed but only low selectivity and conversion are reached . Thus, efficient materials need to be design for this application. The 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Moungi Bawendi, Louis Brus, and Aleksey Yekimov for their discovery and synthesis of quantum dots , which are zero dimensional nanoparticles with dimensions below 10 nm. In particular, the carbon nanodots have attracted significant research attention due to their enviable properties, such as water solubility, desirable fluorescent behavior, ease of functionalization, low toxicity, and biocompatibility. Following the Green Chemistry principles, these materials can be obtained from biomass waste, ensuring tailored properties that make them valuable in several fields such as drug delivery, bioimaging, sensing, water remediation, and photocatalysis. In this part of the talk, the design of metal free and dopant free biomass/waste derived carbon nanodots for methanol selective CO2 photoreduction will be discussed.

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L'evento si terrà in inglese


Dipartimento di Scienze Molecolari e Nanosistemi, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia


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