A new way of preparing iron-nanoparticle catalysts, which could play an important role in converting greenhouse gases to useful organic compounds, has been developed by UK scientists.
The catalyst comprises iron nanoparticles supported on carbon nanotubes. While such chemical architectures usually require multiple preparation steps, Dr Davide Mattia and co-workers have greatly simplified the procedure, using the same iron nanoparticle to both grow the nanotube and perform catalysis.
The catalyst facilitates the reaction of CO2 and CO – both gases contributing the greenhouse effect – with hydrogen, producing a mixture of useful organic starting materials. In a world where oil is an increasingly expensive resource, chemistry such as this could provide an economically viable route towards cleaner organic synthesis, as well as a use for sequestered CO2 from carbon capture and storage projects.