Scientists Of This University Found A Way To Convert Carbon Dioxide Into Fabric and Other Products

There is a very famous saying, "Can't get rid of 'em; use 'em," and we humans are very good at it. Lately we have come up with various ingenious ways to use our natural resources for producing cleaner energy, be it use of springs or bio-gas. Having said that, completely stopping of fossil fuels seems like a distant dream.

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With the increase in pollution scientists are coming up with ways to use the gases like carbon dioxide that’s emitted through vehicular pollution. Instead of just letting it hang in our environment it's better to find ways to use it. Rutgers scientists did just that, they found that carbon dioxide can be turned into plastics, fabrics, resins and lot of other products.

The Breakthrough

This scientific discovery is all about reversing an artificial photosynthesis. While explaining the invention, the university website stated that the electro-catalysts are the first materials, aside from enzymes, that can turn carbon dioxide and water into carbon building blocks- with more than 99% efficiency- for complicated and useful products. What makes this research impressive is that such a feat has never been achieved before.

According Charles Dismukes, Distinguished Professor and author, in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at Rutgers University–New Brunswick believes,

Our breakthrough could lead to the conversion of carbon dioxide into valuable products and raw materials in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Adding to that, Karin Calvinho, a chemistry doctoral student in Rutgers’ School of Graduate Studies, says,

Carbon dioxide and water can be electro-chemically converted into a wide array of carbon-based products, using five catalysts made of nickel and phosphorus, which are cheap and abundant.

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But it is the choice of catalyst and other conditions that determine how many carbon atoms can be stitched together to make molecules. Usually it is observed that the longer the carbon chain, the more valuable the product.

What Next?

The next step for the Rutgers scientists was to get it patented, which they have. They have even started their own start-up company named RenewCO.

As per the website the Rutgers experts are busy designing, building and testing electrolyzers for commercial use. The scientists hope to learn more about the underlying chemical reaction, so they can produce more valuable products such as diols, which are extensively used in the polymer industry or renewable fuels like hydrocarbons.

Picture Source: IndiaTimes, news.rutgers.edu, youtube.com


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