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Abstract

The chemical transformation of carbon dioxide into useful products becomes increasingly important as CO2 levels in the atmosphere continue to rise as a consequence of human activities. In this article we describe the direct hydrogenation of CO2 into formic acid using a homogeneous ruthenium catalyst, in aqueous solution and in dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO), without any additives. In water, at 40 °C, 0.2 M formic acid can be obtained under 200 bar, however, in DMSO the same catalyst affords 1.9 M formic acid. In both solvents the catalysts can be reused multiple times without a decrease in activity. Worldwide demand for formic acid continues to grow, especially in the context of a renewable energy hydrogen carrier, and its production from CO2 without base, via the direct catalytic carbon dioxide hydrogenation, is considerably more sustainable than the existing routes.

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