CO2Reduction Using Water as an Electron Donor over Heterogeneous Photocatalysts Aiming at Artificial Photosynthesis

Shunya Yoshino, Tomoaki Takayama, Yuichi Yamaguchi, Akihide Iwase, Akihiko Kudo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


ConspectusPhotocatalytic and photoelectrochemical CO2reduction of artificial photosynthesis is a promising chemical process to solve resource, energy, and environmental problems. An advantage of artificial photosynthesis is that solar energy is converted to chemical products using abundant water as electron and proton sources. It can be operated under ambient temperature and pressure. Especially, photocatalytic CO2reduction employing a powdered material would be a low-cost and scalable system for practical use because of simplicity of the total system and simple mass-production of a photocatalyst material.In this Account, single particulate photocatalysts, Z-scheme photocatalysts, and photoelectrodes are introduced for artificial photosynthetic CO2reduction. It is indispensable to use water as an electron donor (i.e., reasonable O2evolution) but not to use a sacrificial reagent of a strong electron donor, for achievement of the artificial photosynthetic CO2reduction accompanied by ΔG > 0. Confirmations of O2evolution, a ratio of reacted e-to h+estimated from obtained products, a turnover number, and a carbon source of a CO2reduction product are discussed as the key points for evaluation of photocatalytic and photoelectrochemical CO2reduction.Various metal oxide photocatalysts with wide band gaps have been developed for water splitting under UV light irradiation. However, these bare metal oxide photocatalysts without a cocatalyst do not show high photocatalytic CO2reduction activity in an aqueous solution. The issue comes from lack of a reaction site for CO2reduction and competitive reaction between water and CO2reduction. This raises a key issue to find a cocatalyst and optimize reaction conditions defining this research field. Loading a Ag cocatalyst as a CO2reduction site and NaHCO3addition for a smooth supply of hydrated CO2molecules as reactant are beneficial for efficient photocatalytic CO2reduction. Ag/BaLa4Ti4O15and Ag/NaTaO3:Ba reduce CO2to CO as a main reduction reaction using water as an electron donor even in just water and an aqueous NaHCO3solution. A Rh-Ru cocatalyst on NaTaO3:Sr gives CH4with 10% selectivity (Faradaic efficiency) based on the number of reacted electrons in the photocatalytic CO2reduction accompanied by O2evolution by water oxidation.Visible-light-responsive photocatalyst systems are indispensable for efficient sunlight utilization. Z-scheme systems using CuGaS2, (CuGa)1-xZn2xS2, CuGa1-xInxS2, and SrTiO3:Rh as CO2-reducing photocatalyst, BiVO4as O2-evolving photocatalyst, and reduced graphene oxide (RGO) and Co-complex as electron mediator or without an electron mediator are active for CO2reduction using water as an electron donor under visible light irradiation. These metal sulfide photocatalysts have the potential to take part in Z-scheme systems for artificial photosynthetic CO2reduction, even though their ability to extract electrons from water is insufficient.A photoelectrochemical system using a photocathode is also attractive for CO2reduction under visible light irradiation. For example, p-type CuGaS2, (CuGa)1-xZn2xS2, Cu1-xAgxGaS2, and SrTiO3:Rh function as photocathodes for CO2reduction under visible light irradiation. Moreover, introducing a conducting polymer as a hole transporter and surface modification with Ag and ZnS improve photoelectrochemical performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)966-977
Number of pages12
JournalAccounts of Chemical Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2022


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