Halide perovskites for artificial leaves


The manufacturing of artificial leaves that reproduces at larger scale what plants do when they form carbohydrates by natural photosynthesis is a grand ambition for the creation of a sustainable society. Success has the potential to cease our dependence on fossil sources for polymer syntheses, pharmaceutical manufacture, and transport applications (e.g. fuels in cars) and instead allow us to use atmospheric or flue gas CO2. The Royal Society of Chemistry emphasises this potential in the recently launched report "Solar Fuels and Artificial Photosynthesis" (2012). In line with this, the US Department of Energy has identified the photo-driven conversion of CO2 as a priority research direction and The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) has recently launched a new special interest group dedicated to alternative and renewable energy.

Many active semiconductor photocatalysts such as titania and zinc oxide have been proven to photocatalytically convert CO2. However, they offer low yields of products under sun irradiation due to their intrinsic limitations such as low solar absorption and short lifetime of photoinduced charges. To make CO2 solar photocatalytic reduction a viable and commercial technology further research on novel materials is needed.

This research project aims to develop artificial leaves with halide perovskites, novel materials of unprecedented success in photovoltaics that remain unexplored in photocatalysis because they suffer from chemical and structural instability. We will develop smart approaches to protect them from decomposition using conductive layers and moreover design and optimise the reactors and reaction conditions that favour their photocatalytic activity as well as their preservation. This way halide perovskites will become a new front-runner in the field of photocatalysis, ensuring important advances towards a more sustainable mix of clean energy and feedstocks for current and future generations.
Effective start/end date1/01/1831/12/19