Harnessing Applied Potential for Sunlight Driven CO2 Utilization | AIChE

Harnessing Applied Potential for Sunlight Driven CO2 Utilization


Conference Presentation

Conference Type

AIChE Annual Meeting

Presentation Date

October 30, 2012


15 minutes

Skill Level




Escalating COemissions due to increasing fossil fuel consumption is generally acknowledged as one of the major contributors to global warming. Therefore, the development of methods for reducing the amount of CO2 released is a major challenge with significant societal consequences. Pressures on fossil fuel resources in the coming decades also mean that raw materials for the chemical industry must be found that can reduce our reliance on fossil fuel-based feedstocks. One promising approach towards reducing our reliance on fossil fuel based raw materials for chemical synthesis is to use CO2 from the atmosphere as a starting material. We herein report an electrosynthetic process for converting atmospheric CO2 into organic molecules (cyclic carbonates (5, 6 and 7 membered rings), acyclic carbonates, carbamates and alcohols) that is powered by sunlight. This is one of only a handful of approaches that activates COat atmospheric pressure and ambient temperature, and provides a step change in the area.

See for example our initial communication in the area: Electrosynthesis of Cyclic Carbonates from Epoxides and Atmospheric Pressure Carbon Dioxide, Benjamin R. Buckley, Anish P. Patel and K. G. Upul Wijayantha. Chem. Commun. 2011, 47, 11888-11890.


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