Photocatalytic CO2 conversion to methanol
Methanol has been identified as a chemical energy carrier which can be produced via thermal conversion of hydrogen with CO2. Nevertheless the process is tedious, involving multiple steps such as electrolysis and subsequent catalytic thermal reaction. Hence it is of interest to develop new systems that is simpler, practical and low cost. PEM system has been widely used to synthesis hydrocarbon fuel but also has its drawback with limited catalyst selectivity and low product yield due to the more dominant Hydrogen Evolution Reaction as opposed to target reactions.
Recent research shows the potential of utilizing plasmonic metal nanoparticles which are photo-catalytically active, able to drive chemical reactions with photo-generated hot carriers and exhibit a compelling super-linear dependence on light intensity. Other research also reported that methanol can be produced at ambient temperature when metal oxide nanoparticles which have been mildly illuminated were used during CO2 hydrogenation.
This project aims to explore the feasibility to integrate the plasmonic nanoparticle catalysts that can operate at low temperature for CO2 conversion into the PEM electrolysis unit for photocatalytic CO2 hydrogenation to methanol. The student working on this project will be jointly supervised by multidisciplinary research team and in collaboration with CSIRO.
Supervisor: Scientia Prof Rose Amal (UNSW), A/Prof Jason Scott (UNSW) and Dr Yunxia Yang (CSIRO)
How to apply for admission and scholarships: https://research.unsw.edu.au/submit-application