Converting CO2 to fuel: A dream or a challenge?

FUEL 212

Gabriele Centi, centi@unime.it, Dept. of Industrial Chemistry and Engineering of Materials, University of Messina, Salita Sperone 31, Messina, 98166, Italy and Siglinda Perathoner, perathon@unime.it, Department of Industrial Chemistry and Engineering of Materials, University Messina, Salita Sperone 31, Messina, 98166, Italy.
In the CO2 conversion using solar energy, direct (photochemical) or indirect (photoelectrochemical) routes are possible. The 2nd has the theoretical advantage of higher efficiency by reducing the rate of recombination of e-/h+ pairs generated in the photoexcitation process. Photoelectrochemical conversion of CO2 has been studied mainly in liquid phase using either homo- or heterogeneous catalysts. The first step of the CO2 conversion in liquid phase is the generation of the CO2- anion radical which is easily converts to products such as formic, oxalic and glycolic acids which recovery from aqueous solution is costly. Products such as methanol and methane may also obtained, but with low selectivities. We will instead report how using confined catalysts and a gas phase electroreduction of CO2 it is possible to form Fischer-Tropsch hydrocarbons (up to over C8), a discovery which open interesting perspectives in closing the cycle from fuels to CO2 and back to fuels.