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Translucent nanoparticle-based aerogel monoliths as 3-dimensional photocatalysts for the selective photoreduction of CO2 to methanol in a continuous flow reactor

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Abstract

The selective photoreduction of CO2 to methanol is an energy efficient way to transform a harmful greenhouse gas into a hydrocarbon of great industrial importance. However, the search for efficient photocatalysts able to reduce CO2 with water turned out to be extremely challenging. Besides studying new materials compositions and combinations, architectural design involving the structuring of catalysts from the nanometer to the centimetre scale and over three dimensions represents a much less studied, but nevertheless highly promising approach for the development of new photocatalysts. Translucent nanoparticle-based aerogels with their large surface areas, high porosity, well-developed crystallinity, multiscale structural features and their excellent light absorption properties offer all the advantages of a successful photocatalyst. Unfortunately, the mechanical fragility strongly limited their use in monolithic form. Here we present a prototype of a flow reactor, which enables the direct exploitation of cylindrical aerogel monoliths in various gas phase reactions. In particular, we studied the performance of TiO2–Au nanoparticle based aerogels for the photoreduction of CO2 with water to methanol, resulting in a conversion rate of 2.58 μmol g−1 h−1 with high selectivity. The assembly of nanoparticles into three-dimensional macroscopic bodies, which can directly be introduced in a flow reactor, opens up unique opportunities for the development of new and efficient photocatalysts beyond powders and films for a wide range of gas phase reactions.

Graphical abstract: Translucent nanoparticle-based aerogel monoliths as 3-dimensional photocatalysts for the selective photoreduction of CO2 to methanol in a continuous flow reactor

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Publication details

The article was received on 12 Jun 2017, accepted on 29 Aug 2017 and first published on 05 Sep 2017


Article type: Communication
DOI: 10.1039/C7MH00423K
Citation: Mater. Horiz., 2017, Advance Article
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    Translucent nanoparticle-based aerogel monoliths as 3-dimensional photocatalysts for the selective photoreduction of CO2 to methanol in a continuous flow reactor

    F. Rechberger and M. Niederberger, Mater. Horiz., 2017, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7MH00423K

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