Nanowires for CO2 Reforming into Fuels by Sunlight
In this phase I SBIR project, we propose to develop a new type of photo-catalyst nanowire structure for high yield CO2 reforming into fuels and useful chemicals by sunlight energy. Despite the published successes of TiO2 nanorods/nanotubes as photo-catalyst materials, such systems work primarily in the ultraviolet spectral region ( & lt;390 nm) and suffer from poor visible light absorption. The proposed metal-oxide photo-catalyst structure has an ability to absorb both visible and infrared solar energy (as well as UV), therefore allowing it to harvest a significant portion of available solar energy. The resulting CO2 reforming yield, as recently published by PhosphorTech, is 6X higher in thin-film structures compared to that reported for TiO2 nanotubes. One of the goals of the phase I project is to further increase the reforming yield by an additional 20X through the use of nanowire instead of thin-film structures. In addition, such structures can simultaneously reform CO2 while neutralizing organic contaminants found in industrial wastewater or natural organic matter typically found in surface water. These advantages will make it practical to place sunlight-powered photo-catalytic reactors near industrial facilities that are large emitters of CO2 and have ample supply of organic contaminants in their water (oil/gas, chemical plants, pulp/paper, power plants, etc.).
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