New Study Reveals Mechanism for Making Fuel from Carbon Dioxide

Research points the way to reducing carbon waste from fossil fuels

A recent study by scientists at Umass Lowell and Virginia Tech used density functional theory (DFT) to show “how carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion can be converted to higher-carbon-chain fuels – supporting the nation's transition to clean energy.” Converting carbon dioxide to a usable fuel could help to bring the world closer to net-zero carbon impact.

According to the press release, “The process examined by the researchers is known as carbon dioxide electrochemical reduction (CO2RR) and transforms carbon dioxide into fuel – using electrical energy. While this process has been studied for several years, until now the mechanisms and catalyst design rules for promoting CO2RR were unknown.”

The researchers used ACCESS allocations on the Expanse supercomputer at the San Diego Supercomputing Center (SDSC) for the study, which was funded by the US Navy, the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and other participating institutions.