A liquid metal catalyst turns carbon dioxide into solid carbon. If humans hope to limit climate change to just 2°C of warming, we’ve got a lot of work to do, scientists say: reducing emissions, planting trees, and scrubbing carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) from the skies with the latest technologies. Now, a new process can convert gaseous CO 2 —the product of burning fossil fuels—into solid carbon at room temperature, using only a trickle of electricity. But getting it to work on a planet-wide scale will be a formidable challenge. In recent years, researchers have discovered a handful of solid metal catalysts—compounds that speed up chemical reactions—that can convert CO 2 into solid carbon. But these work only above 600°C, and providing that heat requires a lot of energy—and money. The catalysts also gum up quickly, when the carbon they produce builds up, limiting their ability to keep the reactions going. To get around this, chemists Dorna Esrafilzadeh and Torben Daeneke at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, turned to a new class of catalysts made from metal alloys that are liquid at room temperature. One such catalyst, first reported in Nature Chemistry in 2017, consists of catalytically active palladium […]

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