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Molecules 2015, 20(4), 6739-6793; doi:10.3390/molecules20046739

Advances and Recent Trends in Heterogeneous Photo(Electro)-Catalysis for Solar Fuels and Chemicals

Heterogeneous Catalysis, Institute of Chemical & Engineering Sciences (ICES, A * Star), 1 Pesek Road, Jurong Island, 627833, Singapore
Academic Editor: Pierre Pichat
Received: 20 January 2015 / Revised: 20 March 2015 / Accepted: 20 March 2015 / Published: 15 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photocatalysis)

Abstract

In the context of a future renewable energy system based on hydrogen storage as energy-dense liquid alcohols co-synthesized from recycled CO2, this article reviews advances in photocatalysis and photoelectrocatalysis that exploit solar (photonic) primary energy in relevant endergonic processes, viz., H2 generation by water splitting, bio-oxygenate photoreforming, and artificial photosynthesis (CO2 reduction). Attainment of the efficiency (>10%) mandated for viable techno-economics (USD 2.00–4.00 per kg H2) and implementation on a global scale hinges on the development of photo(electro)catalysts and co-catalysts composed of earth-abundant elements offering visible-light-driven charge separation and surface redox chemistry in high quantum yield, while retaining the chemical and photo-stability typical of titanium dioxide, a ubiquitous oxide semiconductor and performance “benchmark”. The dye-sensitized TiO2 solar cell and multi-junction Si are key “voltage-biasing” components in hybrid photovoltaic/photoelectrochemical (PV/PEC) devices that currently lead the field in performance. Prospects and limitations of visible-absorbing particulates, e.g., nanotextured crystalline α-Fe2O3, g-C3N4, and TiO2 sensitized by C/N-based dopants, multilayer composites, and plasmonic metals, are also considered. An interesting trend in water splitting is towards hydrogen peroxide as a solar fuel and value-added green reagent. Fundamental and technical hurdles impeding the advance towards pre-commercial solar fuels demonstration units are considered. View Full-Text
Keywords: solar fuels; heterogeneous photocatalysis; water splitting; renewable hydrogen; visible sensitization; hydrogen peroxide; bio-oxygenates photoreforming; electrocatalysis; carbon dioxide reduction solar fuels; heterogeneous photocatalysis; water splitting; renewable hydrogen; visible sensitization; hydrogen peroxide; bio-oxygenates photoreforming; electrocatalysis; carbon dioxide reduction
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Highfield, J. Advances and Recent Trends in Heterogeneous Photo(Electro)-Catalysis for Solar Fuels and Chemicals. Molecules 2015, 20, 6739-6793.

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