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Solar carbon fuel via photoelectrochemistry

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journal contribution
posted on 2018-07-02, 11:08 authored by Evangelos Kalamaras, M. Mercedes Maroto-Valer, Minhua Shao, Jin Xuan, Huizhi Wang
A promising strategy to mitigate both energy shortage and global warming is the conversion of CO 2 into chemicals that can be used as fuels (chemical fuels) by utilizing renewable energy sources. Up to date, solar-driven CO 2 reduction has been achieved with photochemical (PC) and photoelectrochemical (PEC) systems or electrochemical cells combined with a photovoltaic system (PV-EC). This study is intended to compare and highlight the state-of-the-art PEC systems for CO 2 reduction and show the limitation factors that still hinder their widespread utilization. The review starts with a description of semiconducting photocatalyst properties and fundamental understanding of PEC CO 2 reduction process. Then, the most significant performance metrics used for evaluation of PEC systems are explained in details. In addition, recent progress in PEC CO 2 reduction systems is summarized and classified in different categories according to the chemical product. Different strategies such as doping, combination of two or more semiconductors, synthesis of nanostructured materials, passivation layers and co-catalysts that enhance light absorption, chemical stability, charge transfer and reduce ohmic losses and overpotentials of photoactive materials are reviewed. Besides the improvement of photocatalysts, research progress on the front of PEC reactor design, combined with the development of advanced modelling tools and characterization techniques are expected to bring PEC CO 2 reduction a step closer to commercialization.


The authors would like to acknowledge The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for financial support through the projects EP/K021796/1,EP/N009924/1, and EP/R012164/1. JX and MS would like to acknowledge the support from Royal Society Kan Tong Po International Fellowship (KTPR1170014).



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Chemical Engineering

Published in

Catalysis Today


KALAMARAS, E. ... et al, 2018. Solar carbon fuel via photoelectrochemistry. Catalysis Today, 317, pp. 56-75.


Elsevier © The Authors


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/4.0/

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This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Elsevier under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/




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