Powering the next industrial revolution: transitioning from nonrenewable energy to solar fuels via CO2 reduction
Solar energy has been used for decades for the direct production of electricity in various industries and devices; however, harnessing and storing this energy in the form of chemical bonds has emerged as a promising alternative to fossil fuel combustion. The common feedstocks for producing such solar fuels are carbon dioxide and water, yet only the photoconversion of carbon dioxide presents the opportunity to generate liquid fuels capable of integrating into our existing infrastructure, while simultaneously removing atmospheric greenhouse gas pollution. This review presents recent advances in photochemical solar fuel production technology. Although efforts in this field have created an incredible number of methods to convert carbon dioxide into gaseous and liquid fuels, these can generally be classified under one of four categories based on how incident sunlight is utilised: solar concentration for thermoconversion (Category 1), transformation toward electroconversion (Category 2), natural photosynthesis for bioconversion (Category 3), and artificial photosynthesis for direct photoconversion (Category 4). Select examples of developments within each of these categories is presented, showing the state-of-the-art in the use of carbon dioxide as a suitable feedstock for solar fuel production.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2020 Reviews in RSC Advances