Within the upcoming three years the CarbonCat project targets on the transformation of CO2 into valuable C1 compounds like methanol under sustainable conditions. This approach involves the technological and chemical expertise of the consortium consisting of Fraunhofer IMM, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg and Sahlmann Photochemical Solutions. Diamond material will be chemically modified and optimized for acting as photocatalyst using visible light as energy source. This key component will be integrated into a novel continuously running microreactor, which not only allows the intense contacting of water and carbon dioxide gas, but also the necessary photonic contacting with visible light. The latter is made available via high-power LED arrays adapted to the microreactor system.

CarbonCat is a project for fundamental research in the fields of organic chemistry and reactor and light engineering providing a strong base for various applications. The main impact of this project stems from the mutual interaction of chemistry and engineering for the realization of a CO2 transformation process into C1 chemicals. Despite this ultimate goal, CarbonCat will provide new and important insights into catalyst development with diamond materials and trend-setting advancements in reactor engineering for continuous flow photochemistry using LED illumination.

The support measure CO2Plus focuses on the enlargement of the raw material base for the chemical industry via the utilization of CO2 as alternative carbon source. This approach directly aims at reducing the dependence on fossil raw materials like mineral oil. One discipline of the call points to the coupling of regenerative energy sources, like solar energy, for the direct utilization of CO2 in the production of chemicals. Here, the CarbonCat approach hits the spot by the development of a novel diamond-based photocatalyst system for visible light usage in a continuously running microreactor.

The national joint research project CarbonCat is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research under the support measure CO2Plus, which is administrated by Project Management Jülich. The project partners will receive a funding of overall 1.34 million € within a period of three years.


Artificial diamond plate (© Photo: Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg)

High-power LEDs (© Photo: Sahlmann Photochemical Solutions)

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