Chapter 1: Introduction to the Eletrochemical and Photo-electrochemical Reduction of CO2

David J. Fermin, Frank Marken

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Rapid progress in the fields of catalyst innovation, reactor design, and computational theory in catalysis has been fuelled by the need for new solutions in carbon dioxide recycling and artificial photosynthesis. It has been suggested that atmospheric CO2 can be viewed as a freely available raw material that, with the help of sunlight, may be converted to valuable products such as fuels, polymer building blocks, and/or molecular building blocks for food production (essentially mimicking or bypassing natural photosynthesis). This vision is underpinned by opportunities from high performance electrochemical systems featuring complex catalyst architectures, enabling high conversion rates under mild conditions. This chapter briefly introduces the broader topic of electrocatalytic carbon dioxide reduction and it highlights some recent achievements in this rapidly developing field. Pathways towards a circular/sustainable carbon economy can be constructed based on highly complex catalytic multi-step chemical reactions that could significantly outperform the natural carbon cycle. In recent years, new hierarchical and active materials and advanced computer modelling have accelerated progress towards this goal. This book offers the latest insights into materials and architectures for the electrocatalytic CO2 reduction, in addition to new spectroscopic and computer modelling tools. One of the most exciting developments is the merging of concepts in heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis into novel catalyst architectures, for example of functional molecular catalysts anchored at semiconductor surfaces. In this chapter, we set the scope of the book and we highlight the topics covered by the following chapters.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLignin Valorization
Subtitle of host publicationEmerging Approaches
PublisherRoyal Society of Chemistry
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781782620426
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

Publication series

NameRSC Energy and Environment Series

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Energy


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