Discovery could lead to sustainable ethanol made from carbon dioxide

Stanford scientists have designed a copper catalyst that produces ethanol from carbon dioxide and water. Image: ?Mark?Shwartz/Stanford?University

Copper crystals

Atoms on the surface of copper (751) are relatively far apart compared to other copper crystals. That could explain why copper (751) is far more selective to producing ethanol when exposed to carbon dioxide. Image: Illustration:?Christopher?Hahn/SLAC?National?Accelerator?Laboratory

Catalytic performance

Associate Professor Thomas Jaramillo (left) and SLAC scientist Christopher Hahn have demonstrated the feasibility of designing copper catalysts that convert carbon dioxide into ethanol without corn or other crops. Image: Mark Shwartz/Stanford University