New nano-sponges convert carbon dioxide into fuel and decompose plastic

The two best known solid acids are crystalline zeolites and amorphous aluminosilicates.

Although zeolites are highly acidic, theylimited by their inherent microporosity, causing extreme diffusion restriction. While aluminosilicates are mesoporous, they suffer from low acidity and moderate stability. Thus, it is a synthetic task to develop and synthesize solid acids with acidity like zeolites and textural properties of aluminosilicates.

On the other hand, the main reason for the changeclimate is carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the level of which is increasing every day. The effect of global warming in terms of abrupt changes in weather conditions is already clearly visible and alarming. Thus, there is a great need to find ways to reduce carbon dioxide levels by separating it or converting it into fuel. Also, the growing amount of plastic waste has become a serious environmental problem. Most countries generate thousands of tons of plastic waste every day.

In a new paper, the researchers looked at both of theseproblems in one go by developing nano-solid acids that convert carbon dioxide directly into fuel (dimethyl ether) and plastic waste into chemicals (hydrocarbons).

Using bicontinual drop methodsmicroemulsion as a soft template, scientists synthesized acidic amorphous aluminosilicate (AAS) with sponge nanomorphology, which exhibits both zeolite (strong acidity) and amorphous aluminosilicate (mesoporous high surface area) properties.

Numerous studies have confirmed that the classification of new materials, due to its unique properties, borders between crystalline zeolite and amorphous aluminosilicate.

New development can enable developmentsolid acid catalysis for the decomposition of plastic, as well as the conversion of carbon dioxide into fuel. The process will take place under the conditions necessary to make it economically competitive.

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