Pyroelectric nanoplates for reduction of CO2 to methanol driven by temperature-variation

Journal: Nature Communications

Published: 2021-01-12

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-20517-1

Affiliations: 4

Authors: 8

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Research Highlight

Recycling CO2 by harnessing diurnal temperature change

© ascg Photography/Moment/Getty Images

© ascg Photography/Moment/Getty Images

A material that could use natural day/night temperature fluctuations as a source of energy to drive the conversion of carbon dioxide emissions into methanol fuel has been demonstrated.

Bismuth tungstate is a layered material that spontaneously polarizes, forming a positive electric charge on one face of the material and a negative charge on the opposite face. This polarization is temperature sensitive.

When Soochow University researchers placed bismuth tungstate in a sodium bicarbonate solution and cycled the temperature between 15 and 70 degrees Celsius, the rise and fall of polarity in the material created free charges in the surrounding solution. When they bubbled carbon dioxide gas through this solution, these free charges drove the chemical conversion of carbon dioxide to methanol.

The result suggests that ‘pyroelectric’ materials such as bismuth tungstate could capture energy from the environment to help recycle carbon dioxide into fuels.

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  1. Nature Communications 12, 318 (2021). doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-20517-1
Institutions Share
Soochow University, China 0.63
ShanghaiTech University, China 0.25
Xi'an University of Posts and Telecommunications (XUPT), China 0.13