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Science ; 364(6438)2019 04 26.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31023896


Electrocatalytic transformation of carbon dioxide (CO2) and water into chemical feedstocks offers the potential to reduce carbon emissions by shifting the chemical industry away from fossil fuel dependence. We provide a technoeconomic and carbon emission analysis of possible products, offering targets that would need to be met for economically compelling industrial implementation to be achieved. We also provide a comparison of the projected costs and CO2 emissions across electrocatalytic, biocatalytic, and fossil fuel-derived production of chemical feedstocks. We find that for electrosynthesis to become competitive with fossil fuel-derived feedstocks, electrical-to-chemical conversion efficiencies need to reach at least 60%, and renewable electricity prices need to fall below 4 cents per kilowatt-hour. We discuss the possibility of combining electro- and biocatalytic processes, using sequential upgrading of CO2 as a representative case. We describe the technical challenges and economic barriers to marketable electrosynthesized chemicals.

Sci Rep ; 8(1): 8940, 2018 Jun 12.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29895961


Natural gas is a robust and environmentally friendlier alternative to oil resources for energy and chemicals production. However, gas is distributed globally within shales and hydrates, which are generally remote and difficult reserves to produce. The accessibility, transportation, and distribution, therefore, bring major capital costs. With today's low and foreseen low price of natural gas, conversion of natural gas to higher value-added chemicals is highly sought by industry. Dry reforming of methane (DRM) is a technology pathway to convert two critical greenhouse gas components, CH4 and CO2, to syngas, a commodity chemical feedstock. To date, the challenges of carbon deposition on the catalyst and evolution of secondary gas-phase products have prevented the commercial application of the DRM process. The recent exponential growth of renewable electricity resources, wind and solar power, provides a major opportunity to activate reactions by harnessing low-cost carbon-free energy via microwave-heating. This study takes advantage of differences in dielectric properties of materials to enable selective heating by microwave to create a large thermal gradient between a catalyst surface and the gas phase. Consequently, the reaction kinetics at the higher temperature catalyst surface are promoted while the reactions of lower temperature secondary gas-phase are reduced.