Catalytic CO2 Metal Oxide Chameleons

The development of CO2 refineries to help curb greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade will play an important role in helping to ameliorate climate change. To realize this Utopian vision of a sustainable future, there is an urgent need to discover and develop highly active, selective and stable heterogeneous CO2 hydrogenation catalysts that can improve the energy efficiency, economic flows, materials requirements and carbon footprints of tomorrows CO2 refineries.
Catalytic metal oxide nanomaterials, in principle can fulfill all of these needs. Their wide-ranging structures, myriad compositions, and controlled morphologies, enable efficacious CO2 reduction reactions to produce value-added chemicals and fuels. It is remarkable, however that it is the defects intentionally incorporated into these nanostructured metal oxides, allow the tailoring and optimization of their catalytic behaviour.
In this Chemical Society Reviews Tutorial, we present for the first time a chemistry blueprint for the implementation of different classes of defects in metal oxides that enable them to function as heterogeneous catalysts for the hydrogenation of gaseous CO2 to energy carriers, exemplified by carbon monoxide, methane, methanol and hydrocarbons. This blueprint represents a springboard for developing strategies to enable the design, synthesis, characterization, testing and optimization of nanostructured heterogeneous metal oxide CO2 hydrogenation catalysts. It will hopefully guide the development of highly efficient catalysts, reactors and processes optimised for the conversion of gaseous CO2 to valuable chemicals and fuels.

The full article can be read on the Chemical Society Reviews website.

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Congratulations Hong Wang on your VIP Angewandte Chemie Paper: A Step Towards the Electrochemical CO2 Refinery

Formic acid is used on a large scale for the green deicing of runways and planes at airports. It also functions as a medium for the safe storage of H2, which can be catalytically released on demand to be used in fuel cells and catalytic reduction. The conceptual advance described in this paper is a novel strategy for the manufacture of metal-free, hierarchically structured, nitrogen-doped, nanoporous carbon-carbon nanotube composite membranes that can be utilized as a gas diffusion electrode for the large scale electrochemical reduction of CO2-to-formate. We believe that the manufacturability and low cost of this novel class of membrane bode well for the development of a wide range of practical applications for the electrochemical CO2 reduction reaction to value-added chemicals and fuels.

The full article can be read on the Angewandte Chemie website.

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CO2 Utilization Global Warriors

Professor Geoffrey Ozin and his research group are currently working on ways to turn atmospheric CO2 into fuels, such as gasoline, methanol, carbon monoxide and chemical products, such as urea based fertilizer. Such an approach would simultaneously reduce greenhouse gases and ditch reliance on fossil sources. Ozin’s view of CO2 as a friend and not an enemy is shared by many academics, and marks a major shift in how climate change should be tackled.
On May 9th and 10th, U of T’s Solar Fuels Cluster hosted the international “CO2 Solutions to Climate Change” Symposium, bringing together the world’s top scientists and engineers, all of whom are developing creative solutions to transform CO2 into useful chemicals, materials, and fuels. A variety of cutting-edge chemical, biological, computational, and materials-based strategies were presented. Science and engineering researchers, engineers and policy makers from the United States, China, Japan, the UK, and Germany laid out the full spectrum of scientific, economic and political challenges that must addressed to successfully shift towards the CO2 energy economy.
But it’s not only environmentalists who should be interested. A recent report by the Global CO2 Initiative predicts that products manufactured from CO2 could create a global market of over US $800 billion by 2030 with a 15% reduction in the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. Now, government is interested too. Ontario’s Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray, who opened the symposium and a passionate believer in taking strong and fast action to curb climate change, doesn’t want Canada to lose out. He has a vision to implement the process of carbon capture and utilization across the country and wants to see Canada as a global leader in pushing towards a sustainable energy economy.

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Magnetothermal Heterogeneous Catalytic Reduction of CO2

Geoff introduces the concept of driving CO2 hydrogenation magnetothermally. In this case, the alternating current through an induction coil produces magnetic fields to heat a magnetic nanomaterial catalyst.

The full article can be read on the Advanced Science News website.

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50 Covers Over 45 Years in the Ozin Group!!

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Articulation and Exploitation of Frustrated Lewis Pairs – A Case of Rediscovery in Science?

Geoff’s latest opinion editorial in Advanced Science News revisits the science of ZnO catalysis in the language of frustrated lewis pairs.

The full article can be read on the Advanced Science News website.

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Size-Tunable Photothermal Germanium Nanocrystals

White light, white heat: A soft-chemistry synthesis of GeO, based on the thermally induced dehydration of Ge(OH)2, enables its thermal disproportionation to give size-controlled germanium nanocrystals (ncGe), which exhibit a pronounced size-dependent photothermal effect, superior to that of silicon nanocrystals (ncSi).

The full article can be read on the Angewandte Chemie website.

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Congrats to Chenxi and Wei!!

Chinese students from Ozin group, Chenxi Qian and Wei Sun (last-year recipient) were awarded highest honor by the Chinese government at the Chinese Consulate General Toronto. Geoff praised his students and gave a speech about his views on Chinese students – how they left him with good impression and how they have changed through the years. Geoff also gave a short speech and expressed his feelings.

The full article can be read on the ChinaDaily website.

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New Hope for Lipophilic Silicon Nanoparticles in Biology

Size separated lipophilic silicon nanoparticles that fluoresce from red to infrared are encapsulated into liposomes and delivered to cells. Specific particles are found to encapsulate better into the liposomes and thus enhance cellular uptake and toxicity when delivered to cancer cells. Congratulations to Chenxi, Kenneth, and Melanie!

The full article can be read on the Nature Scientific Reports website.

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Slow Photons Back in the Fast Lane Break New Ground for All Solar Related Applications in the Future

This review article, published in Advanced Materials provides a comprehensive overview of pioneering research, present day activities and future directions aimed at enhancing the harvesting of sunlight, by exploiting the unique properties of slow photons in photonic crystal materials. The overarching objective is to develop efficient, scalable and cost-effective technologies that improve the efficacy of photocatalysts for making solar fuels from water and carbon dioxide as well as boost the performance of photovoltaics for generating electricity from sunlight. Research of this genre will help enable the transition from non-renewable fossil energy to renewable green energy, a grand challenge in the continuing battle to combat climate change, to protect the environment, to establish a secure and safe energy supply, and provide a sustainable world for humanity.

The full article can be read on the Advanced Materials website.

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