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Issue 10, 2017
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Efficient solar-driven electrochemical CO2 reduction to hydrocarbons and oxygenates

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Abstract

Solar to chemical energy conversion could provide an alternative to mankind's unsustainable use of fossil fuels. One promising approach is the electrochemical reduction of CO2 into chemical products, in particular hydrocarbons and oxygenates which are formed by multi-electron transfer reactions. Here, a nanostructured Cu–Ag bimetallic cathode is utilized to selectively and efficiently facilitate these reactions. When operated in an electrolysis cell, the cathode provides a constant energetic efficiency for hydrocarbon and oxygenate production. As a result, when coupled to Si photovoltaic cells, solar conversion efficiencies of 3–4% to the target products are achieved for 0.35 to 1 Sun illumination. Use of a four-terminal III–V/Si tandem solar cell configuration yields a conversion efficiency to hydrocarbons and oxygenates exceeding 5% at 1 Sun illumination. This study provides a clear framework for the future advancement of efficient solar-driven CO2 reduction devices.

Graphical abstract: Efficient solar-driven electrochemical CO2 reduction to hydrocarbons and oxygenates

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Article information


Submitted
24 Jun 2017
Accepted
31 Aug 2017
First published
31 Aug 2017

Energy Environ. Sci., 2017,10, 2222-2230
Article type
Paper

Efficient solar-driven electrochemical CO2 reduction to hydrocarbons and oxygenates

Gurudayal, J. Bullock, D. F. Srankó, C. M. Towle, Y. Lum, M. Hettick, M. C. Scott, A. Javey and J. Ager, Energy Environ. Sci., 2017, 10, 2222
DOI: 10.1039/C7EE01764B

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