LED-driven controlled deposition of Ni onto TiO2 for visible-light expanded conversion of carbon dioxide into C1–C2 alkanes†
Photocatalytic gas-phase hydrogenation of CO2 into alkanes was achieved over TiO2-supported Ni nanoparticles under LED irradiation at 365 nm, 460 nm and white light. The photocatalysts were prepared using photo-assisted deposition of Ni salts under LED irradiation at 365 nm onto TiO2 P25 nanoparticles in methanol as a hole scavenger. This procedure yielded 2 nm Ni particles decorating the surface of TiO2 with a nickel mass content of about 2%. Before the photocatalytic runs, Ni/TiO2 was submitted to thermal reduction at 400 °C in a 10% H2 atmosphere which induced O-defective TiO2−x substrates. The formation of oxygen vacancies, Ti3+ centers and metallic Ni sites upon photocatalytic CO2 hydrogenation was confirmed by operando EPR analysis. In situ XPS under reaction conditions suggested a strong metal–support interaction and the co-existence of zero and divalent Ni states. These photoactive species enhanced the photo-assisted reduction of CO2 below 300 °C to yield CO, CH4 and C2H6 as final products.