Research progress of perovskite materials in photocatalysis- and photovoltaics-related energy conversion and environmental treatment
Meeting the growing global energy demand is one of the important challenges of the 21st century. Currently over 80% of the world's energy requirements are supplied by the combustion of fossil fuels, which promotes global warming and has deleterious effects on our environment. Moreover, fossil fuels are non-renewable energy and will eventually be exhausted due to the high consumption rate. A new type of alternative energy that is clean, renewable and inexpensive is urgently needed. Several candidates are currently available such as hydraulic power, wind force and nuclear power. Solar energy is particularly attractive because it is essentially clean and inexhaustible. A year's worth of sunlight would provide more than 100 times the energy of the world's entire known fossil fuel reserves. Photocatalysis and photovoltaics are two of the most important routes for the utilization of solar energy. However, environmental protection is also critical to realize a sustainable future, and water pollution is a serious problem of current society. Photocatalysis is also an essential route for the degradation of organic dyes in wastewater. A type of compound with the defined structure of perovskite (ABX3) was observed to play important roles in photocatalysis and photovoltaics. These materials can be used as photocatalysts for water splitting reaction for hydrogen production and photo-degradation of organic dyes in wastewater as well as for photoanodes in dye-sensitized solar cells and light absorbers in perovskite-based solar cells for electricity generation. In this review paper, the recent progress of perovskites for applications in these fields is comprehensively summarized. A description of the basic principles of the water splitting reaction, photo-degradation of organic dyes and solar cells as well as the requirements for efficient photocatalysts is first provided. Then, emphasis is placed on the designation and strategies for perovskite catalysts to improve their photocatalytic activity and/or light adsorption capability. Comments on current and future challenges are also provided. The main purpose of this review paper is to provide a current summary of recent progress in perovskite materials for use in these important areas and to provide some useful guidelines for future development in these hot research areas.