New study highlights the importance of efficient catalyst design and carbon catalysts in achieving net-zero targets

New research by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Carbon Science and Innovation (ARC CoE-CSI) has identified the importance of efficient mineral catalyst design and carbon catalysts for developing green fuels and chemicals.

These methods aim to reduce reliance on highly sought-after critical minerals and fossil fuels, contributing to net-zero targets.

Published in the special issue for Advanced Materials, the review paper focuses on catalysts essential for electrocatalytic carbon dioxide reduction reactions (CO2RR), a process that converts carbon dioxide (CO2) into green fuels and chemicals.

Centre Chief Investigator and co-corresponding author of the study, Dr Rahman Daiyan, said one of the new strategies includes ‘catalyst downsizing’ of mineral catalysts such as copper or nickel, boosting efficiency by maximising catalyst surface area.

“Reducing catalyst particles (nanoparticles, clusters, and/or single atoms) transforms their morphology and surface properties, boosting catalytic activity and reaction efficiency,” Dr Daiyan said.

A key research area for the Centre is to also design carbon as a catalyst as an alternative to critical minerals which are expensive, environmentally harmful and vulnerable to shortages.

“The demand for critical minerals is projected to quadruple by 2040. Single atom catalysts and carbon-based catalysts offer an alternative which helps to avoid bottlenecks caused by high costs and limited availability of critical minerals,” Dr Daiyan said.

Lead author of the study, Putri Ramadhany, said this ensures for a more sustainable and efficient future for catalytic processes.

“Exploring novel materials that enhances surface area, activity and stability is essential for reducing dependency on critical minerals and accelerating industrial implementation to achieve net-zero emissions,” Putri said.

The study is published in Advanced Materials with the lead author being Putri Ramadhany, and was co-authored by Professor Simon Corrie, Dr Emma Lovell, Professor Paolo Samorì and Dr Rahman Daiyan from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Carbon Science and Innovation, as well as Quang Luong, Ziling Zhang, Dr Josh Leverett and Professor Ismet Canbulat.


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