Ind Eng Chem Res. 2022 Jul 27;61(29):10496-10510. doi: 10.1021/acs.iecr.2c00452. Epub 2022 May 20.
This research discusses the CO2 valorization via hydrogenation over the non-noble metal clusters of Ni and Cu supported on graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4). The Ni and Cu catalysts were characterized by conventional techniques including XRD, AFM, ATR, Raman imaging, and TPR and were tested via the hydrogenation of CO2 at 1 bar. The transition-metal-based catalyst designed with atom-economy principles presents stable activity and good conversions for the studied processes. At 1 bar, the rise in operating temperature during CO2 hydrogenation increases the CO2 conversion and the selectivity for CO and decreases the selectivity for methanol on Cu/CN catalysts. For the Ni/CN catalyst, the selectivity to light hydrocarbons, such as CH4, also increased with rising temperature. At 623 K, the conversion attained ca. 20%, with CH4 being the primary product of the reaction (CH4 yield >80%). Above 700 K, the Ni/CN activity increases, reaching almost equilibrium values, although the Ni loading in Ni/CN is lower by more than 90% compared to the reference NiREF catalyst. The presented data offer a better understanding of the effect of the transition metals’ small metal cluster and their coordination and stabilization within g-C3N4, contributing to the rational hybrid catalyst design with a less-toxic impact on the environment and health. Bare g-C3N4 is shown as a good support candidate for atom-economy-designed catalysts for hydrogenation application. In addition, cytotoxicity to the keratinocyte human HaCaT cell line revealed that low concentrations of catalysts particles (to 6.25 μg mL-1) did not cause degenerative changes.