News Release

Introducing green carbon science

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Science China Press

Overview of the basic scientific issues involved in green carbon science

image: The fundamental aspects of green carbon science include carbon active species, water as hydrogen source, redox chemistry, engineering thermochemistry, dynamic behavior at nano-scale, and CO2 reaction engineering. These six aspects are centered on a tri-molecular system of CO2, hydrogen and water. In a carbon energy system with carbon-neutrality, the CO2 can be recycled by chemical and ecological pathways via methanol synthesis and photosynthesis/artificial PS, respectively, while the hydrogen is acquired from water splitting. view more 

Credit: ©Science China Press

Carbon is an indispensable element for the formation of living organisms. At the same time, the carbon energy system, including biomass, enabled the ancestors of human beings to enter the age of carbon civilization, out of the period when they eat birds and animals raw. The operation of the carbon energy system generates carbon dioxide, which forms the greenhouse effect on which the earth's organisms are able to survive. It can be said that there is no life without carbon and no life can survive without carbon dioxide. As far as carbon is concerned, the pivotal factors are balance and recycling.

One of the innermost books of ancient philosophy ever written is ‘Tao Te Ching’ by Lao Tzu (571–471 B. C.). It says that: “Tao produces one. One produces two. Two produce three. Three produce myriad things. Myriad things, backed by Yin and embracing Yang achieve harmony by integrating their energy.” Here, as a simplified common understanding, ‘Tao’ means the universe and its laws. Following ‘Tao, the carbon energy as the object we are studying in green carbon science, can be taken as one. A common theme in Taoism is the duality of all things in nature, the white region represents Yin, or Negative, and the black region represents Yang, or Positive. Two complementary halves play against each other at all times and one cannot exist without the other. When the carbon energy system discussed is one, the core of the system being composed of two opposite counterparts, oxidation and reduction, can be taken as two, and the three elements, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, constituting the carbon energy system, and effectively accomplishing all oxidation-reduction reactions, can be taken as three. Based on the three elements of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, many reactions can be generated and many molecules can be produced. That means three produces myriad things. The molecules produced may further react with each other to derive a series of new reactions and a variety of new products

The understanding of the concept of green sustainable development can be based on the trilemma between economic growth, resources and environment. By replacing resources with carbon energy and the environment with carbon dioxide, the concept of "green carbon science" can be understood in terms of the trilemma between economic growth, carbon energy and carbon dioxide.

To construct a new energy system with the goal of carbon neutrality, it will be based on knowledge updating and technology innovation at the molecular level, including processing via pathways at molecular level, new routes of molecular synthesis, and new molecules creation and manufacturing, etc. An overview of the basic scientific issues involved in green carbon science is provided.


Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.