Researchers at Rice University have developed a method to convert carbon dioxide into methane, a valuable fuel. The process involves electrolysis and catalysts that attach copper atoms to two-dimensional polymer templates. The catalysts are assembled in water at room temperature, with the copper atoms displacing the host metal ions in the polymer templates. This allows for the reduction of carbon dioxide to methane. By modulating the distance between the copper atoms, the energy required for key reaction steps is lowered, resulting in the efficient production of methane. This catalyst has shown one of the most rapid and efficient conversions of carbon dioxide to methane through electrolysis. The researchers believe that with further advancements, this technology could help industrialize electrochemical carbon dioxide reduction. They also emphasize the importance of developing novel catalysts to address energy and sustainability challenges.
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