This revolutionary light-driven reaction to convert carbon dioxide into fuel is a boon to alternate energy

Scientists of Duke university developed a method of converting carbon dioxide into methane, a component of many fuels. The method involved using ultraviolet light and tiny nanoparticles of rare metal rhodium. This new method can be used for the reduction of growing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and leads to the development of alternate energies without the formation of unwanted products such as carbon monoxide.

This revolutionay light-driven reaction to cnvert carbon dioxide into fuel is a boon to alternate energy

Rhodium is chosen for the experiments as a small amount of the rare earth metal is already used as a catalyst in an industrial process for the production of fertilizers, detergents, and pharmaceuticals.

Research Methodology

-The researchers found that by shrinking bits of rhodium into nanoparticles via process plasmonics and further blasting them with UV light eliminates the generation of unwanted products. 
-Also, light is found to be more efficient than heat  in the generation of methane and elimination of undesirable by-products
-Initially, scientists heated rhodium nanocubes and passed carbon dioxide and hydrogen- the chemical reaction gave equal amounts of carbon monoxide and methane
-when the nanoparticles are illuminated by U.V light the chemical reaction yielded mostly methane.
According to Zhang, the graduate student concerned with the synthesis of nanotubes, selectivity is an important factor in determining the cost and feasibility of industrial-scale reactions. Here the selectivity implies ability to control chemical reaction for producing the desired product with little or no side products

“If the reaction has only 50 percent selectivity, then the cost will be double what it would be if the selectively is nearly 100 percent,” Zhang said. “And if the selectivity is very high, you can also save time and energy by not having to purify the product.”

Future research involve, studies to see if the light can be used for other chemical reactions in which rhodium acts as the catalyst.

The Research study is published in the journal Nature communications

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