Why worry about increasing atmospheric CO2 levels if you could just use CO2 to make circular fuels and chemicals?

The sustainable utilisation of the greenhouse gas CO2 represents a key step towards accomplishing a circular carbon economy. To address this goal, we interface light absorbers with suitable catalysts for the light-driven conversion of CO2 to value-added chemicals, including CO, formate, methane, or liquid multicarbon products. Our research covers various facets of CO2 conversion, from fundamental studies on electrocatalytic surface-bound interactions, to applied research on device integration and upscaling. Molecular catalysts are immobilised onto nanostructured metal oxide, lead halide perovskite, and silicon semiconductors to promote highly-selective CO2 conversion in both aqueous and organic media. Spectroelectrochemical studies on those (photo)electrodes uncover mechanistic insights into optimal catalyst loading and selectivity. Synthetic catalysts are functionalised with a variety of anchor groups to enable photocatalysis in colloidal systems involving quantum dot, carbon nitride and carbon dot nanoparticles. Photoelectrochemical “artificial leaf” devices and particulate photocatalyst sheets are being developed to probe the stability and scalability of our systems, taking practical aspects as variable daylight conditions and day-night cycles into account. Overall, our efforts strive towards establishing solar carbon fuels as a competitive alternative to fossil fuels in the future.

Selected recent publications