Nano-Based Photocatalyst Structure for CO2 Reforming by Sunlight

 

A semiconductor such as TiO<sub>2</sub> is used as a manmade<br/>photo-catalyst to convert CO<sub>2</sub> into useful materials.<br/>The process is similar to how natural plant chlorophyll<br/>converts CO<sub>2</sub> into starch and oxygen (O<sub>2</sub>)
A semiconductor such as TiO2 is used as a manmade
photo-catalyst to convert CO2 into useful materials.
The process is similar to how natural plant chlorophyll
converts CO2 into starch and oxygen (O2)
Performer: 
PhosphorTech Corporation
Website:  PhosphorTech Corporation
Award Number:  FE0004224
Project Duration:  10/01/2010 – 09/30/2013
Total Award Value:  $1,248,504
DOE Share:  $998,655
Performer Share:  $249,849
Technology Area:  Carbon Use and Reuse
Key Technology: 
Location:  Lithia Springs, Georgia

Project Description

Researchers at PhosphorTech Corporation have modified conventional photocatalyst materials to improve their ability to convert/reform CO2 into other useful chemicals in a cost-effective and energy efficient manner. A photocatalyst is a material that speeds up a chemical reaction when subjected to sufficient light energy (sunlight in this study). To date, even the most efficient conventional photocatalysts suffer from extremely low concentration yields (0.01-0.1 volume percent), making them impractical for commercial applications. Researchers are making efforts to improve performance in order to enhance the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of these technology types for reforming CO2.

Project Benefits

The proposed pathway for this conversion process utilizes solar energy, a readily available renewable resource. The conversion to methane only requires water as a co-reactant, negating the need for any mined or manufactured consumables, thus greatly enhancing the conversion process’s economic viability and moving it toward achieving a target net cost of less than $10 per metric ton. The proposed pathway also offers an added benefit of simultaneously neutralizing organic contaminants in waste water systems, which can be used as electron-hole scavenger materials to increase reaction yields. The chemical conversion of CO2 utilizing an inexpensive and abundant fuel source, such as sunlight, would eliminate many of the issues facing existing and emerging bio-conversion processes or biofuels, such as competing with other land or crop use, increased water demand, ongoing governmental subsidies, etc. A direct chemical conversion process would utilize the high concentration of CO2 emissions from fossil power plants and convert them into usable fuel at a faster rate, a matter of seconds, for the subject process, compared to days for bioconversion of feedstocks such as algae, and months for cane, corn, and oil seeds.

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager 
William O'Dowd: william.odowd@netl.doe.gov
Technology Manager 
Traci Rodosta: traci.rodosta@netl.doe.gov
Principal Investigator 
Hisham Menkara: hisham@phosphortech.com
 

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