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A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in France has found a way to improve the conversion of CO2 into fuels by mimicking the behavior of the diving bell spider. In their paper published in the journal Nature Materials, the group describes using captured air bubbles to improve the conversion efficiency of carbon dioxide into usable fuels.
Current electrochemical processes that convert CO2 into hydrocarbons typically use copper as an electrocatalyst—it is generally coated with electrodes and immersed in a liquid that contains carbon dioxide. Applying electricity sets off the reduction process that converts the CO2 into methane, ethanol, ethylene and carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, such processes also produce hydrogen gas, which reduces the efficiency of the process. Efforts to improve the process have involved forming the electrodes into nanostructures or by doping the copper with other materials. But thus far, such efforts have not resulted in adequate efficiency improvements. In this new effort, the researchers looked to the diving spell spider for inspiration.
Bell - Spiders - Underwater
Diving bell spiders are able to swim underwater because they have strongly...
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