A new and cost-effective catalyst has been developed by the University of Surrey to recycle two main causes of climate change - methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2).
In a study, published in the Applied Catalysis B: Environmental journal, researchers have described how they developed an advanced nickel-based catalyst strengthened with ceria and tin, and used it to convert CH4 and CO2 into a synthesis gas that can be used to generate fuels and a variety of valuable chemicals.
This work is part of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council's Global Research Project, which is exploring ways to reduce the effect of global warming in Latin America. The new study has led the University of Surrey to file a patent for a new "supercatalysts" family for chemical CO2 recycling.
The Global Carbon Project revealed that global CO2 emissions are expected to rise in 2017 for the first time in four years - with carbon output rising on average 3% every year since 2006.
Although carbon capture technology is widespread, it can be costly and, most of the time, requires very precise and extreme conditions for the process to be successful. The researchers believe that the new catalyst will help make the technology more commonly available across the industry, and both cheaper and easier for it to be removed from the atmosphere.
Dr Tomas R. Reina from the University of Surrey stated, "This is an extremely exciting project and we believe we have achieved something here that can make a real impact on CO2 emissions.
The goal we're all chasing as climate scientists is a way of reversing the impacts of harmful gases on our atmosphere - this technology, which could see those harmful gases not only removed but converted into renewable fuels for use in poorer countries is the Holy Grail of climate science.
Dr Tomas R. Reina, The University of Surrey
Professor Harvey Arellano-Garcia, Head of Research in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Surrey, stated, "Utilizing CO2 in this way is a viable alternative to traditional carbon capture methods, which could make a sizable impact to the health of our planet.
We're now seeking the right partners from industry to take this technology and turn it into a world-changing process.
Professor Harvey Arellano-Garcia, Head of Research, The Chemical Engineering Department, The University of Surrey