Development of novel photo(electro)catalysts for conversion of green-house gas CO2 is crucial to reach sustainable approach in carbon economy. Different materials have been studied; however, recent attention has turned to low-dimensional materials and improvement of their activity via enhancing the mass transfer and using metal nanoparticles as cocatalysts.
Three classes of materials will be studied in this project proposal: oxide semiconductors (e.g., Cu2O, CuO, NiO, TiO2), zeolites, and transition-metal carbides (MXenes).
1) Oxide semiconductors are widely studied materials for photocatalytic conversion of CO2, nevertheless, their activity has not reached a level required for industrial application. There is still a lot of space for improvement via different strategies. In this project we aim incorporation of metal nanoparticles as cocatalysts.
2) Zeolites are crystalline microporous aluminosilicates, which can be prepared also as titanosilicates in aluminium-free form. They can be prepared as three-dimensional materials as well as two-dimensional (2D) multilayered materials. The activity of 2D micro-mesoporous titanosilicate zeolites in CO2 photoconversion was confirmed in a previous study of our group. The catalytic activity was related to materials´ morphology and titanium species distribution over the crystals. The follow-up research focuses on enhancing the mass transfer of reactants and products using micro-mesoporous zeolites and introduction of metal nanoparticles as cocatalysts.
3) Transition-metal carbides (MXenes) are a new class of two-dimensional materials. In first studies of photocatalytic reduction of CO2 MXenes revealed a potential to work well as photocatalyst and support for cocatalyst. But as-prepared multilayered MXenes have a very low surface area. To enhance their catalytic performance, we target to improve their textural properties and thus support the mass transfer of reactants and products to/from a cocatalyst.
For the proposed project we are looking for motivated students with experience in material chemistry and photo or electrocatalysis. We offer 4-years Ph.D. student position in an international group of scientists across multiple disciplines. Our group has a rich collaboration with international partners and industrial partners. We organize international conferences and workshops. Our PhD students regularly attend both international and national conferences.
Fig. 1: SEM image of different forms of titanosilicates TS-1-C (a), TS-1-V (b), lam-TS-1 (c) showing the difference in their crystal morphology (on the left). Comparison of methane yields after 8 h of photoreduction under CO2 atmosphere (on the right), TiO2 P25 is commercial catalyst.
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