Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 1, 2016
Previous Article Next Article

Design of an artificial photosynthetic system for production of alcohols in high concentration from CO2

Author affiliations

Abstract

Artificial photosynthesis of liquid fuels is a potential source for clean energy. Alcohols are particularly attractive products because of their high energy density and market value per amount of energy input. The major challenges in photo/electrochemical synthesis of alcohols from sunlight, water and CO2 are low product selectivity, high membrane fuel-crossover losses, and high cost of product separation from the electrolyte. Here we propose an artificial photosynthesis scheme for direct synthesis and separation to almost pure ethanol with minimum product crossover using saturated salt electrolytes. The ethanol produced in the saturated salt electrolytes can be readily phase separated into a microemulsion, which can be collected as pure products in a liquid–liquid extractor. A novel design of an integrated artificial photosynthetic system is proposed that continuously produces >90 wt% pure ethanol using a polycrystalline copper cathode at a current density of 0.85 mA cm−2. The annual production rate of >90 wt% ethanol using such a photosynthesis system operating at 10 mA cm−2 (12% solar-to-fuel (STF) efficiency) can be 15.27 million gallons per year per square kilometer, which corresponds to 7% of the industrial ethanol production capacity of California.

Graphical abstract: Design of an artificial photosynthetic system for production of alcohols in high concentration from CO2

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 10 Sep 2015, accepted on 06 Nov 2015 and first published on 06 Nov 2015


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C5EE02783G
Author version available: Download Author version (PDF)
Citation: Energy Environ. Sci., 2016,9, 193-199
  •   Request permissions

    Design of an artificial photosynthetic system for production of alcohols in high concentration from CO2

    M. R. Singh and A. T. Bell, Energy Environ. Sci., 2016, 9, 193
    DOI: 10.1039/C5EE02783G

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements