Beijing: Chinese researchers have developed a new catalyst that can convert carbon dioxide and water into pure formic acid, a raw material in the organic chemical industry, the Guangming Daily reported.
The researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China, the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, and the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, developed the new type of single-atom copper catalyst of high activity at a low cost to exclusively convert carbon dioxide and water into formic acid.
Using the new catalyst, the researchers invented an electrolyzer to directly and continuously produce pure formic acid solutions without a product-separation process. It reduces the carbon dioxide electrolysis cost massively.
Using sustainable energy sources to convert carbon dioxide into high-value chemicals is a new technology to utilize this greenhouse gas and cut carbon emissions.
But the current method produces formic acid with by-products such as carbon monoxide, ethylene, and ethanol, all in the electrolytic solution at a massive cost to extract and purify.