SYN-CAT seeks to develop a combination technology on the basis of direct sunlight and renewable energy to selectively convert CO2 into methanol.
Currently, highly active and selective catalysts are under development to convert CO2 into CO. For the conversion of CO2 into other target chemicals, such as dimethoxy ethane (DME) and methanol (MeOH), further innovations are required.
Although catalysts targeting DME and MeOH have been reported, their productivity remains low. When using photocatalysis to convert CO2 into MeOH, attaining the required reducing potential remains challenging as the achievable band gap is limited by the material properties of the catalyst. Electrochemistry, on the other hand, can attain extreme reducing potentials. However, applying a constant highly-biased potential leads to unwanted side reactions.
A combination technology
To overcome these challenges, SYN-CAT aims to combine both photocatalysis and electrochemistry in a photo-electrochemistry technology that is both highly reducing as well as chemo-selective, offering unprecedented advantages to boost the catalyst activity and selectivity. The ultimate goal? Providing industries with catalysts for the selective and efficient conversion of CO2 into DME and/or MeOH in one integrated reactor design.
By enabling further innovation in CO2 conversion technologies, SYN-CAT will allow Flemish industries to efficiently convert CO2 into valuable chemical building blocks. This will enable the industry to significantly reduce its CO2 emissions.