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New solar technology turns greenhouse gases into valuable fuel

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar May18,2024

New solar technology transforms greenhouses gases into valuable fuels

A new photocatalyst developed by Shanghai Jiao Tong University offers an environmentally efficient method of converting greenhouse gases into chemicals using solar energy, a major advance in sustainable chemical production.

The new photocatalyst, called Rh/InGaN1-xOx , is a nanoarchitecture consisting of rhodium nanoparticles attached to oxygen-modified indium gallium nitride nanowires grown on silicon substrates. Under concentrated sunlight, this composite material exhibits outstanding performance for dry methane reforming (DRM) with CO2, achieving a synthesis gas release rate of 180.9 mmol g cat-1 h-1 with 96.3% selectivity. This is a significant improvement over conventional catalytic systems, which often require high energy costs and suffer from rapid deactivation.

"Our work represents a big step forward in solving the twin problems of greenhouse gas emissions and sustainable energy production", — said Professor Baowen Zhou, a lead researcher at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. "Using the power of solar energy and rationally designed nanoarchitecture, we have demonstrated an ecological and efficient way to transform waste gases into valuable chemical resources".

Synergistic effects and mechanisms

The researchers attribute the exceptional performance of their photocatalyst to a synergistic effect resulting from the integration of photoactive InGaN nanowires, an oxygen-modified surface, and catalytically active rhodium nanoparticles. Mechanistic studies have shown that incorporated oxygen atoms play a crucial role in promoting CO2 activation, promoting CO formation, and suppressing catalyst deactivation through coking.

The results of this study, published in the prestigious journal Science Bulletin, pave the way for the development of advanced photocatalytic systems for sustainable production of fuels and chemicals from renewable resources. The team believes that their approach can be extended to other important chemical reactions, offering new opportunities for greening the chemical industry.

"We are excited about the prospects of this technology", – said Professor Baowen Zhou. "By further optimizing the catalyst design and reactor configuration, we aim to scale up the process and demonstrate its viability for practical application".

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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