What is it about?

Environmental carbon dioxide (CO₂) can be upcycled by converting it into value-added compounds with the help of solar energy, through a process called photocatalytic conversion. Titanium dioxide (TiO₂), a semiconductor, is used in this reduction as a photocatalyst to accelerate the reaction. A new review of literature presents information about photocatalytic CO₂ conversion (PCC) and discusses a modified variant of TiO₂—nanostructured TiO₂. While the conventional TiO₂ is economic, long-lasting, easily available, and environmentally friendly, it has limited ability to absorb visible light, which is necessary for photocatalysis of CO₂. Additionally, the electron holes generated in the conventional semiconductors are not very stable. These qualities impede its practical application. Efforts to improve upon the existing semiconductors are continuously being made. Modifying the structure of TiO₂ to generate nanostructured TiO₂ is one such improvement that is being studied.

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Why is it important?

Global energy requirements are always going to be on the rise as we develop, and industries end up using fossil fuels to fulfil these requirements, releasing CO₂, and further degrading the environment. CO₂ is a greenhouse gas that has majorly contributed to global warming and continues to do so. PCC is a clean procedure that not only reduces CO₂ from the environment but also produces energy—the compounds formed through PCC can further be used as fuel, or for other purposes. This two-pronged advantage holds much promise to battle global warming while promoting development. Refining this process can be very advantageous for sustainable development. KEY TAKEAWAY: PCC is an economical and sustainable process that can reduce atmospheric CO₂ levels while meeting the energy needs of a developing world. Further efforts can make this process industrially applicable and efficient.

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This page is a summary of: Nanostructured TiO2 for light-driven CO2 conversion into solar fuels, APL Materials, April 2020, American Institute of Physics, DOI: 10.1063/1.5144106.
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