Re ECF Project: ECF 2017-49

Project Title: Direct solar conversion of CO2 to hydrocarbon fuels: Development and application of earth-abundant CuOx/Fe,Cu-doped Ni(oxy)hydroxide/TiO2 photocatalysts

Applicant: Dr. Tony Shien-Ping FENG, Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Hong Kong

Total Approved Grant: $1,636,000

Duration: 1/12/2017 to 30/11/2019

Project Status/Remarks: On-going

This project aims to fabricate, characterize, and test a novel and operationally stable photocatalyst for direct solar conversion of CO2 to hydrocarbon fuels, without requiring the use of relatively scarce/expensive noble metal catalysts such as platinum. The project objectives include –

  1. Photocatalyst synthesis: the project will develop Cu/CuO/CuO2 nanobelts sensitized with Fe,Cu-doped Ni-(oxy)hydroxide and bandgap engineering of TiO2 with or without dopants such as carbon and nitrogen for CO2 conversion to fuel;
  2. Control of output reactants: the project will investigate hydrophobic/philic nature of Ni-(oxy)hydroxide co-catalyst to enable preferential control of the adsorbed species on its surface;
  3. Optimization of photocatalyst stability: the project will investigate the hypothesis that the surface wettability switching allow adsorbates on the surface to be "washed" and its relationship to the enhancement of the stability; and
  4. Photocatalytic membranes: the project will fabricate photocatalyst upon a fine-mesh copper screen substrate to enable flow-through photocatalytic operation, achieving its mechanical robustness, high surface area, and the directionality of hydrocarbons exit to reduce back reaction, thereby enhancing the photoconversion rate.

Summary of the Findings/Outcomes:
To be available upon completion of the project