Aerogel photocatalytic diodes fro carbon dioxide reduction

  • Mills, Andrew (Principal Investigator)

Project: Research

Project Details


The project aims to produce efficient, inexpensive, visible light-absorbing, robust, high surface area, long-lasting, anion doped, titania photocatalytic monoliths for mediating the reduction of CO2 to methanol and/or methane, using high levels of CO2 and selective catalysts (such as Cu metal deposits) to ensure high efficiencies (10%) and the production of easily used fuels. The project will focus particularly on the generation methane and methanol by using nanoparticulate metals, on the CO2 side of the photocatalyst monolith, known to favour their production in the electrochemical reduction of CO2. These reduced forms of carbon fuels are of relevance to the fuel cell and natural gas industries. Demonstrators of the best of the monoliths will be constructed to help promote the technology to those working in the Energy industry, who, at the end of the study, will be encouraged to contribute to the next phase of the work, namely, the subsequent scale-up and advanced prototype development of the monolithic photocatalyst aerogel diode technology. The real novelty in the work is in the separation of the reduced carbon fuel/oxygen evolution events to the separate opposing sides of a robust, inorganic, inexpensive photocatalytic membrane, i.e. the aerogel photodiode / hence, minimising, if not eliminating the various efficiency-lowering recombination reactions. Each section of the proposal has its own unique aspect, including: the preparation of new photocatalyst materials in aerogel form and the utilisation of nanoparticulate metal catalysts. The project will produce significant underpinning science for the development of monolithic photocatalytic diodes and has the potential to offer a step change in efficiency for energy capture from the sun and also eliminate concerns over the greenhouse effect. The results and demonstration of the proposed novel technology will be of particular interest to many working in the Energy field, including academics and industry, especially those associated with fuel cell technology and/or solar energy to chemical fuel conversion.
Effective start/end date1/04/0830/09/09


  • EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council): £167,530.00