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How can I perform electrolysis on CO2?

  1. May 8, 2013 #1
    I want a way to perform electrolysis on CO2, in order to split it into carbon and oxygen atoms.
    Does anyone have any ideas on how I could do this?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 9, 2013 #2
    This is not possibly by electrolysis. Electrolysis works for ionized species. Unless you plan to make CO2 into a plasma, attempting to put an electric field on it or run electricity through it for electrolysis will do nothing. the CO2 will just sit there staring back at you. You could heat up the CO2 beyond its heat of formation and get the elements out that way, but this is horrifically inefficient, it's possible to do with H2O but no one does it because it's a waste of energy. What you want is a catalyst, but in terms of catalyst complexity, just plant a tree, extract oxygen from the atmosphere, and char the tree when it dies. The day when someone invents a catalyst that can produce O2 and carbon from CO2 is the day they win a Nobel Prize and make billions of dollars.
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