Morphology specific carbon nanomaterial from Carbon Dioxide by a novel molten carbonate synthesis by Xinye Liu, Graduate Student, Licht Lab, GW Department of Chemistry

Xinye Liu, Graduate Student, Licht Lab, GW Department of Chemistry
Xinye Liu, Graduate Student, Licht Lab, GW Department of Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry Presents, via Online Zoom Presentation:  Xinye Liu, Graduate Student, GW Department of Chemistry, Licht Lab

  • Please note that this is a Wednesday Seminar

A high yield, highly pure, low electricity cost constrained, synthesis of carbon nanomaterials from CO2 was studied. In this method, CO2 added to the electrolyte dissolves and chemically reacts with lithium oxide to renew and reform Li2CO3. During electrolysis, carbon products accumulate at the cathode and oxygen evolves at the anode. The net reaction is CO2 split by electrolysis to carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and oxygen. Many different carbon allotropes are produced under controlled electrochemical conditions by removing and transforming the greenhouse gas CO2 to fascinating and useful carbon nanomaterials with a wide variety of controlled morphologies and properties.

The CNTs grow at selected nucleation points. The CNT’s different properties can be controlled by varying the electrochemical synthesis conditions. For example, with sufficient Fe or Ni present, ferromagnetic CNTs will grow.  By controlling different synthesis time or current density, CNTs with different length, number of walls, and type will be formed. In the end of 2017, we accomplished a 0.2 tonne daily conversion of CO2 to CNTs in the lab making us one of five Carbon Xprize finalists. We are scaling up moving forward to remove up to 2-5 tonnes CO2 daily and transform it to the most valuable products.

Besides CNTs, when transition metal nucleating agents are specifically excluded from the C2CNT process, CNTs growth is inhibited, and other uniform carbon nanomaterials can be synthesized including carbon nano-onions, nano-scaffolds and carbon nanoplatelets. After electrochemical exfoliation of these carbon allotropes, graphene can be produced. Carbon nano-onions consist of nested concentric carbon spheroids. Its applications often focus on the confined, high surface area or symmetry of the CNO morphology; Graphene has a high surface area, high thermal and electrical conductivity, strength, surface tailorability, and high charge carrier conductivity that makes it uniquely suitable for energy storage and electronics.


BIO: Xinye received her B.E. in Polymer Science and Engineering from Qingdao University of Science and Engineering. She got her M.S in Polymer Science from the University of Akron, where she worked with Prof. Yu Zhu on morphology control of polymer composites for energy storage. She then joined Prof. Stuart Licht’s group working on CO2 utilization producing high-valued nanocarbon products and oxygen to mitigate the global climate warming.


This will be an Online Zoom Seminar.  The Zoom link will be posted the week of the seminar.