CO2 hydrogenation to higher mass hydrocarbons: towards renewable energy conversion and storage (in collaboration with Fritz-Haber-Institute, Berlin)

The activation of small molecules on oxide surfaces is an important elementary step in many catalytic reactions. Of particular interest is the potential use of CO2 as a sustainable and readily available feedstock. Efficient and inexpensive conversion of CO2 by partial hydrogenation into valuable chemicals, such as methanol or higher mass hydrocarbon compounds that can be used as liquid fuels, holds great potential to minimize the dependence of society on fossil fuels and simultaneously contribute to reducing CO2 emission into the atmosphere. Activation and initial steps of hydrogenation of the CO2 molecule are the most important and challenging steps in this process.

In our studies, the adsorption and chemical transformations of CO2 over model oxide materials is investigated by combination of molecular beams (effusive and supersonic), infrared reflection-absorption spectroscopy (IRAS) and temperature-programmed desorption (TPD) experiments under ultra-high vacuum conditions.