LSU Researchers discovered new method to convert Carbon Dioxide into Organic Compound

Dec 29, 2014 12:32 IST

The researchers at Louisiana State University (LSU) discovered a new method to convert Carbon Dioxide (CO2) into an Organic Compound. The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications on 19 December 2014.

The research team led by Andrew Maverick have discovered a cyclic copper complex that converts carbon dioxide to oxalate, changing the environmental pollutant into a more useful organic compound.

A key component to this discovery was the development of a compound that would react with carbon dioxide. The compound takes four to five days to react.

Process of the study
• Maverick and his team developed a three-step reaction sequence in which a copper complex converts carbon dioxide to oxalate under mild conditions.
• The copper complex is reduced to copper in solution, either electrochemically or using sodium ascorbate.
• The reduced complex selectively reacts with carbon dioxide from air and fixes it into oxalate, with the oxalate ion bridging between two copper atoms.
• The bound oxalate ion is released as oxalic acid on treatment with mineral acids, regenerating the original copper complex.
• The research team created more than 50 different compounds before finding the one that would react with carbon dioxide.

Background
Carbon dioxide is naturally present in the air as part of the normal circulation of carbon in the atmosphere.

However, human activities are adding more carbon dioxide and influencing nature’s ability to remove the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. On the other hand, Carbon dioxide does not want to react with any compound.

Even highly energetic molecules often do not react with CO2. So, it was important to search for compounds which will convert CO2 into something with a little more stored energy.

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