Novel core-shell catalysts for the conversion of CO2 to value-added fuels and chemicals
Carbon dioxide issue has recently become the focus of global attention because of the position of CO2 as the primary greenhouse gas and the implication of its emissions on the problem of climate change and global warming. Effective strategies in solving this issue have been widely studied but promising and efficient techniques are not developed yet. Based on thermodynamic predictions, CO2 conversion can be performed via three main approaches including (1) homogeneous catalytic reaction in gas phases; (2) heterogeneous catalytic reaction at interfaces of vapor –solid (V –S), liquid –solid (L –S), vapor –liquid (V –L), and even L–S–V phases; (3) biochemical or artificial photosynthesis reaction in chlorophyll like complexes.
Among the three reaction approaches (phases), heterogeneous electrochemical and plasma-catalytic reduction of CO2 on bimetallic nanocatalyst (NC) has attracted significant interest due to the needs of feasible carbonaceous storage (recycling) as renewable(sustainable) energies. In this case, the production of higher value fuels and chemicals (e.g., formic acid and methanol) from low value CO2 feedstock as a mimic anthropogenic carbon cycle provides not only benefits of easy implementation into existing liquid fuel infrastructure but also lowering possibly harmful CO2 concentration in global atmosphere. In heterogeneous NCs, surface reaction sites provide low free energy pathways for adsorption and subsequent decomposition/reduction of reagent molecules by thermal or electrical energies. These NCs are properly supported by chemical inner nanocomposites of conducting metal oxide or carbon material, therefore, performing outstanding reliability in operation devices.
Research Objective: The aim of the joint PhD project is to get new insights into the geometry coupling effects between atomic cluster and core-shell nanocrystal for the conversion of CO2 into value-added fuels and chemicals (e.g. formic acid and methanol) using electrochemical and plasma chemical processes. For improving structure reliability and activity, surface modification in NC (comprising metal-metal or metal-oxide conjunction) via atomic cluster deposition is proposed. The atomic cluster modification technique provides following physiochemical controls including (1) transition metal intermix, (2) interface heterojunction (core-shell components and dimensions), and local atomic clusters intercalation, and (3) surface modifications of ligand chelation and oxidation enabling the high efficiency plasma/electrochemical CO2 conversion.
This project will bring together researchers with expertise in catalyst development, electrochemistry, plasma chemistry, and in-situ diagnostics to address the key energy challenge related to social and economic needs. This will create substantial benefit for the chemical and energy industry in the UK and Taiwan, both economically and with respect to sustainability.
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For academic enquires please contact Dr Xin Tu (Xin.Tu@liverpool.ac.uk)
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