A spongy nickel-organic CO2 reduction photocatalyst for nearly 100% selective CO production

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Science Advances  28 Jul 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 7, e1700921
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700921

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Solar-driven photocatalytic conversion of CO2 into fuels has attracted a lot of interest; however, developing active catalysts that can selectively convert CO2 to fuels with desirable reaction products remains a grand challenge. For instance, complete suppression of the competing H2 evolution during photocatalytic CO2-to-CO conversion has not been achieved before. We design and synthesize a spongy nickel-organic heterogeneous photocatalyst via a photochemical route. The catalyst has a crystalline network architecture with a high concentration of defects. It is highly active in converting CO2 to CO, with a production rate of ~1.6 × 104 μmol hour−1 g−1. No measurable H2 is generated during the reaction, leading to nearly 100% selective CO production over H2 evolution. When the spongy Ni-organic catalyst is enriched with Rh or Ag nanocrystals, the controlled photocatalytic CO2 reduction reactions generate formic acid and acetic acid. Achieving such a spongy nickel-organic photocatalyst is a critical step toward practical production of high-value multicarbon fuels using solar energy.

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