The Carbon Dioxide Activation Center (CADIAC) is a center of excellence established in 2015 at the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center and the Department of Chemistry at Aarhus University, which is funded through a generous grant from the Danish National Research Foundation. Three local groups directed by Prof. Troels Skrydstrup, Asst. Prof. Alonso Rosas-Hernandez and Assoc. Prof. Nina Lock in collaboration with the outstanding international group headed by Prof. Matthias Beller at the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis, Rostock, Germany, explore new chemical methods relying on transition metal catalysis for the activation of carbon dioxide in order to provide sustainable solutions for the exploitation of this gaseous molecule as a valuable reagent for chemical synthesis of industrial significance.
One of the greatest challenges confronted by all societies today is to integrate environmental sustainability with economic growth and welfare. Decoupling environmental degradation from economic growth and, in general, performing more with less is a key answer to this challenge. The growing demands from all societies for more energy and other resources suggest that CO2 atmospheric concentrations will continually increase. So rather than considering anthropogenic CO2 as a problematic by-product destined for removal or storage, a sustainable solution is to regard this molecule as a valuable source for the production of fuels and as a viable feedstock for the synthesis of value-added bulk chemicals. The aim of the Carbon Dioxide Activation Center (CADIAC) is to unveil fundamentally new science for the activation of carbon dioxide, thereby providing smart sustainable solutions for the exploitation of CO2 as a valuable reagent to high-value chemicals of industrial importance. Our approach on this challenge is through a unique and multifaceted research effort merging strong nanoscience and chemistry competences in transition-metal catalysis, surface chemistry, electrochemistry, and hybrid organic/inorganic materials with the aim of developing new and efficient catalytic systems for converting CO2 into high-value compounds.
In more details, the objective of the Carbon Dioxide Activation Center (CADIAC) is to unveil fundamentally new science for the activation of CO2, thereby providing smart sustainable solutions for the exploitation of this molecule as a valuable C1-feedstock to high-value chemicals of industrial importance both in small- and large-scale synthesis. Only through an international and multi-disciplinary effort can this ambitious objective be achieved, combining expertise from four research teams in catalysis, materials chemistry, surface chemistry and electrochemistry. We are investigating materials not only displaying catalytic activity with high selectivity and efficiency properties for CO2 conversion, but also materials that can absorb CO2, thus assuring a sufficiently high “concentration” of CO2 close to the catalyst. By merging the worlds of homogeneous catalysis with surface and materials science, we will be able to identify more advanced systems, which through optimized and controlled catalysis, transport processes and product formation, are able to deliver the desired high-value products in a sustainable manner. It is our goal to change the perception of CO2 as a problematic combustion product to a valuable resource ranging from bulk and fine chemical synthesis to carbon isotope labeling.