This work, recently published in Nature Communications, has been featured on the Editor's Highlights webpage called "Catalysis", which reports cutting edge research across the field of catalysis.

In the last centuries, the over-use of fossil products to produce chemicals, polymers, and fuels has done great damage to the environment. Therefore, the development of cleaner and energy-efficient processes is mandatory. However, current industrial processes rely on non-abundant metal catalysts and high pressures and temperatures. In this multidisciplinary work, an alternative gas-phase synthesis using only atomic carbon and molecular hydrogen along with an inert carrier gas at moderate temperature and low pressure without the use of metal catalysts is presented. Under these conditions, efficient generation of long alkane chains entangled into fibers is observed. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis of the fibers reveals that they are essentially composed of unbranched alkanes, with a relatively narrow distribution between C23H48-C33H68. This work could lead to future alternative sustainable synthetic routes to critical alkane-based chemicals or fuels. Nat Commun 12, 5937 (2021). Editor's Highlights webpage: