Principles of photothermal gas-phase heterogeneous CO2 catalysis
Photothermal catalysis is an emerging sub-discipline of heterogeneous catalysis. It is distinct from both thermochemical catalysis driven by heat and photochemical catalysis powered by sunlight. Instead, photothermal catalysis exploits broad absorption of the solar spectrum to stimulate a combination of thermochemical and photochemical processes, which contribute synergistically to driving catalytic reactions. In particular, it is proving an effective and promising strategy for converting CO2 to synthetic fuels. This article provides a critical appraisal of the concepts and principles underpinning the theory and practice of photothermal CO2 catalysis. Ultimately, the goal is to gain an appreciation of the scientific, technological, economic, and environmental challenges inevitably confronted by those pursuing the development of photothermal CO2 refineries.