Scientists at Tokyo Tech are hopeful about the fight against global warming because of a novel photocatalyst. The photocatalyst is made from abundant elements and requires no post-synthesis treatment or modifications.

Fossil fuel burning causes the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. CO 2 reduction technologies can be used to convert CO 2 into useful chemicals such as CO and HCOOH. Plants use sunlight to conduct photosynthesis and photocatalytic CO 2 reduction systems use visible or ultraviolet light to reduce CO 2 Scientists have reported a lot of photocatalysts based on metal-organic frameworks. Most of them require complex post-synthesis treatment and modifications.

A research team from Japan found a way to overcome these challenges. A new type of photocatalyst for CO 2 reduction based on a CP containing lead-sulfur was developed by a team of professors. Unlike any other known photocatalyst, the novel KGF-9 has an infinite (-Pb-S-) n structure.

A low surface area is what KGF-9 has. It achieved a great photo reduction performance despite this. Under visible-light irradiation, KGF-9 showed an apparent quantum yield of 2.5% and a selectivity of over 99%. Prof. Maeda points out that these values are the highest yet reported for a precious metal-free, single-component photocatalyst-driven reduction of CO 2. The work could shed light on the potential of nonporousCPs as building units for photocatalytic CO 2 conversion systems.

Compared to other photocatalysts, KGF-9 is simpler to synthesise and use. KGF-9 does not need a cocatalyst since the active Pb sites are already installed on its surface. No other post-synthesis modifications are required to operate under visible light illumination.

New strategies to increase the surface area of KGF-9 are being explored by Tokyo Tech. There is a good chance that KGF-9 will pave the way to a more economically feasible CO 2 reduction. A new class of inexpensive photocatalysts for CO 2 reduction consisting of earth-abundant elements is the conclusion of the research team.

We hope more research will give us an advantage in the fight against climate change.

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  1. Yoshinobu Kamakura, Shuhei Yasuda, Naoki Hosokawa, Shunta Nishioka, Sawa Hongo, Toshiyuki Yokoi, Daisuke Tanaka, Kazuhiko Maeda. Selective CO2-to-Formate Conversion Driven by Visible Light over a Precious-Metal-Free Nonporous Coordination Polymer. ACS Catalysis, 2022; 12 (16): 10172 DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.2c02177