Catalysts for climate protection | 8/16/2019 | Staff
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How can we achieve the internationally agreed climate targets? The Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB makes the greenhouse gas CO2 usable as a carbon source for the chemical industry. With a patented catalyst synthesis, screening for the optimal catalyst in high throughput and combined (electro)chemical-biotechnological processes, various concepts are available to CO2 emitting industries. The platform chemical ethylene has already been successfully produced from CO2 in an electrochemical demonstrator with an electrode area of 130 square centimeters.

Swift action is needed to limit the increase in global warming to well below 2°C, as agreed in the Paris Framework Convention on Climate Change. For the industrial sector, the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB has developed various new technological solutions for using the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2), which is generated during combustion processes, as a raw material for the production of chemicals, fuels or chemical energy storage systems. "This reduces net CO2 emissions and also conserves fossil resources," explains Gerd Unkelbach, who is responsible for the Sustainable Chemistry business area at Fraunhofer IGB.

Catalysts - Players - Chemical - Conversion - CO2

Catalysts are key players in the chemical and electrochemical conversion of CO2. They accelerate reactions, but are not consumed themselves. In cars, for example, the "catalyst," usually in the form of precious metals such as platinum, rhodium or palladium, converts toxic substances in the exhaust gas.

Fraunhofer IGB not only optimizes the catalytic converters. "We are also developing new processes and design appropriate plants to convert CO2 electrochemically—with electricity from renewable energies—or chemically; or we combine these with biotechnological processes," says Unkelbach.

Metal - Copper - Role - Catalyst - Synthesis

The metal copper plays a major role as a catalyst in the synthesis of regenerative methanol from CO2 and electrolytically produced hydrogen. Methanol is a versatile chemical feedstock that is also becoming increasingly important for the energy sector, both as a fuel additive for...
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