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CO2 Photoreduction to CH4 Performance Under Concentrating Solar Light

Published: June 12th, 2019



1Institute of Chemical Reaction Engineering, College of Chemical Engineering, Zhejiang University of Technology

We present a protocol for improving the performance of CO2 photoreduction to CH4 by heightening the incident light intensity via concentrating solar energy technology.

We demonstrate a method for the enhancement of CO2 photoreduction. As the driving force of a photocatalytic reaction is from solar light, the basic idea is to use concentration technology to raise the incident solar light intensity. Concentrating a large-area light onto a small area cannot only increase light intensity, but also reduce the catalyst amount, as well as the reactor volume, and increase the surface temperature. The concentration of light can be realized by different devices. In this manuscript, it is realized by a Fresnel lens. The light penetrates the lens and is concentrated on a disc-shaped catalyst. The results show that both the reaction rate and the total yield are efficiently increased. The method can be applied to most CO2 photoreduction catalysts, as well as to similar reactions with a low reaction rate at natural light.

The utilization of fossil fuels is accompanied by large amounts of CO2 emission, contributing greatly to global warming. CO2 capture, storage, and conversion are essential to reduce the CO2 content in the atmosphere1. The photoreduction of CO2 to hydrocarbons can reduce CO2, convert CO2 to fuels, and save solar energy. However, CO2 is an extremely stable molecule. Its C=O bond possesses a higher dissociation energy (about 750 kJ/mol)2. This means that CO2 is very hard to be activated and transformed, and only short wavelength lights w....

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Caution: Please consult all relevant Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) before operation. Several chemicals are flammable and highly corrosive. Concentrating light can cause harmful light intensity and temperature increases. Please use all appropriate safety devices such as personal protective equipment (safety glasses, gloves, lab coats, pants, etc.).

1. Catalyst Preparation

  1. Preparation of TiO2 by anodization
    Note: Anodization uses metal.......

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The original photocatalytic reactor system mainly contains two components, a Xe lamp and a stainless cylinder reactor. For the concentrating light reactor system, we added a Fresnel lens and a catalyst holder, as shown in Figure 1. The Fresnel lens is used to concentrate the light in a smaller area. As the light has been concentrated, the catalyst must be placed in a lit area; therefore, the catalyst is made into disc shape, and a holder is used to hold the c.......

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Concentrating light reduces the light incident area and requires the use of a disc-shaped catalyst or a so-called fixed-bed reactor to hold the catalyst. Since the light source is usually a round-shaped lamp, the shape of the catalyst should also be round. To obtain a round disc, it is possible to press the powder into a disk by tableting or to change the metal foil into an oxide by anodization. The anodization method uses electricity to oxidize the metal to an oxide semiconductor. As the metal precursor is already a she.......

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This work is supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21506194, 21676255).


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Ti foil, 99.99% Hebei Metal Technology Co., Ltd.
Pt foil, 99.99% Tianjin Aida Henghao Technology Co., Ltd.
Ammonium fluoride, 98% Aladdin A111758 Humidity sensitive
Glycol, >99.9% Aladdin E103323
Anhydrous ethanol,>99.9% Aladdin E111977 Flammable
Acetone, >99.5% Hangzhou Shuanglin Chemical Co., Ltd. 200-662-2 Irritating smell
Nitric acid, 65.0%-68.0% Hangzhou Shuanglin Chemical Co., Ltd. 231-714-2 Humidity sensitive
Hydrogen peroxide, 30 wt. % in H2O Aladdin H112515 Strong oxidative
Urea, 99% Aladdin U111897
De-ionized water, 99.00% Laboratory made
Xe lamp, CELHXF300/CELHXUV300 Beijing Zhongjiao Jinyuan Co., Ltd.
Stainless cylinder reactor, CEL-GPPC Beijing Zhongjiao Jinyuan Co., Ltd.
Fresnel lens, MYlens Meiying Technology Co., Ltd.
7000 mesh sandpaper Zibo Taichuan Abrasives Co., Ltd.
Ultrasonic cleaner, SK2210HP Shanghai Kedao Ultrasonic Instrument Co., Ltd.
Thermostatical water bath, DF-101S Boncie Instrument Technology Co., Ltd.
Alligator clip Guangzhou Rongyu Co., Ltd.
DC constant voltage source, DY-150V 2A Shanghai Anding Electric Co., Ltd.
Muffle furnace, KSL-1200X Hefei Kejing Materials Technolgy Co., Ltd.
Quartz glass Lianyungang Weida Quartz Products Co., Ltd.
Thermocouples, WRNK-191K Feiyang Electric Accessories Co., Ltd.
Electronmagnetic stirrer, 85-2 Shanghai Zhiwei Electric Appliance Co., Ltd.
Vacuum pump,SHB-IIIA Henan Province Taikang science and education equipment factory
Gas Chromatograph, GC2014 SHIMAPZU
HT-PLOT Q capillary column Hychrom
Optical power meter,CEL-NP2000 Beijing Zhongjiao Jinyuan Co., Ltd.
Electronic scale, JJ124BC Shanghai Jingtian Electronic Instrument Co., Ltd.

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