Useful carbon dioxide

Could carbon dioxide become a useful source of carbon for chemical feedstocks rather than a pariah of climate change? Thibault Cantat and colleagues at the Institut Rayonnement Mati?re de Saclay in Gif-sur-Yvette, France, point out that despite its position as a greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide is a non-toxic and readily available C1 source. "Only a handful of processes using this starting material have been developed, because carbon dioxide is a very stable molecule that cannot easily be made to react," says Cantat. A diagonal, as opposed to vertical or horizontal, approach to converting carbon dioxide using inexpensive organosilanes offers a hybrid solution. "Variation of the reaction partners should allow us to make a whole series of chemical compounds that are normally obtained from petrochemical feedstocks," explains Cantat.