“Seeking” Artificial Photosynthesis

Great Things from Small Things .. Nanotechnology Innovation

tiny_electronics_plants_insects_jpg_662x0_q100_crop-scaleThe excessive atmospheric carbon dioxide that is driving global climate change could be harnessed into a renewable energy technology that would be a win for both the environment and the economy. That is the lure of artificial photosynthesis in which the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide is used to produce clean, green and sustainable fuels.

However, finding a catalyst for reducing carbon dioxide that is highly selective and efficient has proven to be a huge scientific challenge. Meeting this challenge in the future should be easier thanks to new research results from Berkeley Lab. Peidong Yang, a chemist with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, led a study in which bimetallic nanoparticles of gold and copper were used as the catalyst for the carbon dioxide reduction. The results experimentally revealed for the first time the critical influence of the electronic and geometric effects in the reduction reaction (“Synergistic geometric…

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