A clean, low-cost way to convert carbon dioxide into methanol, an ingredient used in the production of plastics, solvents and adhesives has now been discovered by researchers.
Scientists from Stanford University, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Technical University of Denmark combined theory and experimentation to identify a new nickel-gallium catalyst that converts hydrogen and carbon dioxide into methanol with fewer side-products than the conventional catalyst.
"Methanol is processed in huge factories at very high pressures using hydrogen, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide from natural gas," study lead author Felix Studt, a staff scientist at SLAC, said.
"We are looking for materials than can make methanol from clean sources under low-pressure conditions, while generating low amounts of carbon monoxide," he said.
The ultimate goal is to develop a large-scale manufacturing process that is nonpolluting and carbon neutral using clean hydrogen, the authors said.
The findings are published online in the journal Nature Chemistry.