What is it about?

One of the major contributors to climate change is unrestricted carbon dioxide (CO₂) emission caused by human activities. An ideal solution to this problem is the utilisation of CO₂ with sustainable functionalisation (addition of functional groups by chemical synthesis). However, the CO₂ molecule is inert and extremely stable. This makes it difficult to functionalise CO₂ and processes for CO₂ utilisation often needs high pressure and temperature conditions. This limits their widespread application. There have been recent efforts towards addressing this issue with CO2 utilisation under ambient conditions using catalysts. However, they still require reactive substrates and offer few activation channels. Against this backdrop, a 2019 paper reviewed recent developments on this front, focusing on sustainable CO₂ functionalisation. The authors disussed four sub-categories of CO₂ utilisation reactions along with proposed reaction mechanisms and selected examples. Finally, they highlighted the reactions postulated to be ideal for sustainable CO₂ functionalisation and developing a carbon-neutral society in the future.

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Why is it important?

Increasing atmospheric CO₂ accumulation is a major concern in the context of climate change. Mitigating CO₂ levels by utilising it in synthetic chemistry is a promising solution but currently suffers from drawbacks. If they are addressed, it could be a giant leap forward in curbing climate change. KEY TAKEAWAY: Sustainable CO₂ functionalisation using chemical and biological catalysts could be a promising solution to CO₂ accumulation in the atmosphere. This takes us another step towards mitigating our carbon footprint and hopefully leading us to a carbon-negative future.

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This page is a summary of: Toward ideal carbon dioxide functionalization, Chemical Science, January 2019, Royal Society of Chemistry, DOI: 10.1039/c8sc05539d.
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