Harvesting energy from the sun for catalytic conversion of CO2

A review on photo-thermal catalytic conversion of carbon dioxide
Energy-harvesting from the sun via concentrated solar irradiation or localised plasmonic heating for catalytic conversion of carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide emission is driven by our incessant craving for a better quality of life and the consequent urbanisation and economic growth, which lead to ever growing energy demand. Hansen et al. (https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-8-577-2017) projected that unless we start cutting carbon dioxide emissions soon, it is going to cost up to $535 trillion to clean up the atmosphere by the end of this century. With the recently signed Paris Climate Agreement, countries have pledged to limit the increase in global average temperature below the threshold of 2 oC. Australia has vowed to reduce its emissions by 26% by 2030 on 2005 levels. As such, the conversion of carbon dioxide into value-added products is of great industrial and environmental interest. However, as carbon dioxide is relatively stable, the input energy required for this conversion is a significant limiting factor in the system's performance.

Energy utilisation from the sun for CO2 conversion

By utilising energy from the sun, through a range of key routes, this limitation can be overcome. In this review, we present a comprehensive and critical overview of the potential routes to harvest the sun's energy, primarily through solar-thermal technologies and plasmonic resonance effects. Focusing on the localised heating approach, this review shortlists and compares viable catalysts for the photo-thermal catalytic conversion of carbon dioxide. Further, the pathways and potential products of different carbon dioxide conversion routes are outlined with the reverse water gas shift, methanation, and methanol synthesis being of key interest. Finally, the challenges in implementing such systems and the outlook to the future are detailed.

Read the full articles here: Green Energy & Environment (open access): doi: 10/1016/j.gee.2017.06.003