Reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere is critical for a sustainable future. One attractive method to remove CO2 from the exhaust stream of combustion reactions is photocatalytic transformation of CO2 into chemically reduced species, which could be used as fuels or other value-added chemicals for manufacturing and chemical processing. However, the efficiencies of current CO2 transformation catalysts is too low for commercial adaptation. This project will explore hierarchically-structured nanomaterials with precisely controlled heterogeneous components to enable efficient photocatalytic transformation of CO2 into valuable chemicals that offset the need for environmentally-harmful chemicals, such as fossil fuels. By precisely tuning light absorption and charge transfer across these heterogeneous interfaces, we will quantitatively evaluate strategies for efficient harvesting of solar energy, with an emphasis on scalability and manufacturability.
$20,000 from the University of Michigan Energy Institute, Beyond Carbon Neutral Seed Fund.