Converting Photons to Electron and Proton Shifts from Water for Fuel Production
The production of fuels using sunlight, water and carbon dioxide is one of the most important challenges facing scientists today. Nature has been performing this reaction for more than 2 billion years using solar energy to remove protons and electrons from water, generate oxygen and store the energy in the chemical bonds of sugars. This process, photosynthesis, is the energy input for life.
Over the last two decades important advances have been made in the field of artificial photosynthesis spanning the fields of light absorption, formation of long-lived charge separated states, water oxidation reactions, and reductive processes aimed at fuel production. Of these, the design of efficient water oxidation catalysts based on earth abundant transition metal seems the most challenging problem. In this chapter, we describe the advances that have been accomplished in each of the steps necessary to achieve a molecular photo-catalyst for the oxidation of water.