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Hydrogenation of Carbon Dioxide by Water: Alkali-Promoted Synthesis of Formate

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journal contribution
posted on 16.12.2015 by Friedrich M. Hoffmann, Yixiong Yang, Jan Paul, Michael G. White, Jan Hrbek
Conversion of carbon dioxide utilizing protons from water decomposition is likely to provide a sustainable source of fuels and chemicals in the future. We present here a time-evolved infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy (IRAS) and temperature-programmed desorption (TPD) study of the reaction of CO2 + H2O in thin potassium layers. Reaction at temperatures below 200 K results in the hydrogenation of carbon dioxide to potassium formate. Thermal stability of the formate, together with its sequential transformation to oxalate and to carbonate, is monitored and discussed. The data of this model study suggest a dual promoter mechanism of the potassium: the activation of CO2 and the dissociation of water. Reaction at temperatures above 200 K, in contrast, is characterized by the absence of formate and the direct reaction of CO2 to oxalate, due to a drastic reduction of the sticking coefficient of water at higher temperatures.