Methanol Then and Now

Geoff’s latest op-ed details the history of methanol synthesis from the pyrolysis of wood in ancient egypt to the current state of the art Cu/ZnO and Cu/ZrO2 catalysts.

The full article can be read here.

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Turning Down the Heat

Thermally splitting of water typically requires temperatures around 1500°C. In this op-ed, Geoff discusses the case of Cu@TiO2 as a photothermally driven water splitting catalyst operating under 1 sun illumination and under 150°C.
The key to this approach is a two step reduction and oxidation cycle in a low pO2 environment.

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

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CO2 Desalination

Concerns over the world’s supply of fresh water has been steadily growing and if not addressed, is expected to cost 6% of the world’s GDP by 2050. In this op-ed, Geoff describes how brine saturated with CO2 will crystallize as CO2@H2O clathrate hydrates separately from the salt at high pressure and low temperature.

This approach tackles two problems simultaneously as a way to utilize CO2 and desalinate water.

The full article can be read on the here.

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Decarbonizing Natural Gas: CH4 Fuel without CO2

Can natural gas be used as a source of energy without producing CO2? In an op-ed by Geoff, the pyrolysis of CH4 to C + 2H2 is proposed as promising way to effectively utilize CH4. The process can be driven photothermally, producing carbon, with many useful applications and energy rich H2.

The full article can be read on the here.

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Does the $20 Million Carbon XPRIZE Exclude Solar Technologies?

In an article by Prof. Steinfeld and Prof. Stechel, they point out the rules set for the Carbon XPRIZE do not facilitate the use of solar energy as the sole source of energy, and may actually promote technologies that produce more CO2 equivalents than it would consume. Modifications to the prize’s guidelines are thus brought up and discussed.

The full article can be read here.

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Jar of Fears: Do We Want to Fight CO2 or Embrace It?

Concordia’s Science Odyssey was kick-started with a lecture from Geoff entitled “Jar of Fears: Do We Want to Fight CO2 or Embrace It?” The Science Odyssey celebrates science in many forms – from a science fair for children and families, to a multi-disciplinary art exhibition, to an event examining science facts and fiction. Led by Concordia professors in collaboration with international guest lecturers, students and the public alike had the opportunity to immerse themselves in a challenging and vibrant intellectual environment. This unique opportunity allowed academic fields to converge while looking at science from a variety of angles. Science Odyssey is an initiative of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC).

The full article can be read on Concordia’s website, the abstract can be found here, and Geoff’s Jar of Fears Odyssey lecture can be viewed here.

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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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