The carbon dioxide capture and utilization remain a key challenge while its emission and accumulation in the atmosphere in large quantities are associated with the greenhouse effect intensification. In view of these outstanding challenges, the CO2 valorization is gaining interest in the scientific and industrial communities because it brings economic benefits and has a growing environmental importance. A promising approach to help to minimize the CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere and the corresponding negative environmental impacts includes the use of CO2 as feedstock for chemicals. The catalytic conversion of CO2 to valuable products, as fuels for example, can be processed via heterogeneous catalysis by the CO2 hydrogenation reactions or via electrocatalysis by the CO2 electrochemical reduction. The main target of the original project of the candidate is to develop and apply catalysts based on Cu, Rh and Fe to the CO2 hydrogenation, aiming the production of higher alcohols (C2+OH) via heterogeneous catalysis. These compounds can also be formed at liquid phase via electro-reduction of CO2 on Cu-based catalysts. In the present project, we propose investigate the electrochemical reduction of CO2 on Cu-based catalysts, explore possible reaction intermediates and products and identify the factors that influence the catalytic performance (activity, selectivity and stability) of these materials in liquid phase. Within this project, we intend to identify potential similarities and discrepancies between the mechanisms of formation of the hydroxyl group, C-C bond formation and carbon-chain growth corresponding to the CO2 catalytic hydrogenation and electroreduction. This further mechanistic understanding can contribute for the future design of catalysts with specific characteristics to efficiently and selectively hydrogenate CO2 to useful products at different reaction environments (gas vs. liquid phase).
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: