Berkeley Lab researchers develop syngas method by adding copper atop gold

September 7, 2017 |

In California, researchers from the Berkeley Lab have developed a new recipe for creating synthesis gas mixtures, or syngas, that involves adding a pinch of copper atoms sprinkled atop a gold surface. The new material supports a room-temperature electrochemical reaction that can convert carbon dioxide and water into syngas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, and an important precursor in the production of chemicals and synthetic fuels.

The researchers say syngas can be converted downstream into small molecules, like ethanol, or larger hydrocarbons, such as those in gasoline, by fermentation or thermochemistry. Designing a material and a process that can easily control the composition of syngas would be an important improvement in reducing the environmental impacts of those industrial processes.

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