A recent study unveiled one more miraculous application of graphene, this time the perk goes to the ecosystem, where they convert exhausted CO2 into more eco-friendly high energy compounds.
The compound from heaven – graphene
It wasn’t until the 21st century this compound came into our concern. We all knew how important carbon was, but at the same time, the fast-paced industrialization and growth turned the same carbon into chariots of doomsday. But carbon has godsend, one of their allotropic form taking a hexagonal conformation turned out to be the new life saver for humanity. Graphene was invented on 2004 by Prof Andre Geim and Prof Kostya Novoselov at University of Manchester. From there on graphene replaced many elements in our book of technology, becoming one of greatest inventions ever.
The practical application of graphene in technology is mind boggling and day by day newer discoveries are popping out from parts of world implying the future of this compound is safe & holy. They are used in bioengineering from macro to molecular levels, biocompatibility, conductivity, strength etc. made them an inevitable compound. They are used in optoelectronics, ultrafiltration process, as a composite material, in photovoltaic cells, in batteries, and you guess it. But this latest study from Rice University would add one more medal in the application list of graphene.
NGQD + CO2 ------à Ethylene + Ethanol
NGQD is nothing but Nano quantity of nitrogen doped with graphene giving rise to Nitrogen-doped Graphene Quantum Dots. They posesses amazing electrocatalytic ability which can electroreduce the CO2 high energy fuels like ethylene and ethanol. Basically, graphene doesn’t have any catalytic properties, but adding a pinch of nitrogen into the structure makes it a good catalyst in response to electric current and CO2. But the baffling factor is that science world still doesn't have any idea about this phenomenon.
NGQD is such efficient in CO2 conversion, reducing atleast 90% of CO2 expelled, with a 45% ability in converting the gas into fuels. Though only the catalytic application is in progress now, this idea had already sparked the scope for future fuels incorporating the NGQD. Carbon dioxide emission is now effectively turned into much more useful products, which at the same time can be used as fuel too. Their multitude of application is yet to be cracked, but graphene is a promise for the future technology.
A metal-free electrocatalyst for carbon dioxide reduction to multi-carbon hydrocarbons and oxygenates. Wu J, Ma S,, Sun J, Gold JI, Tiwary C, Kim B,, Zhu L, Chopra N, Odeh IN, Vajtai R, Yu AZ, Luo R, Lou J, Ding G, Kenis PJ,, Ajayan PM. Nat Commun. 2016 Dec 13; 7:13869. [PMID:27958290]