The development of CO2 refineries to help curb greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade will play an important role in helping to ameliorate climate change. To realize this Utopian vision of a sustainable future, there is an urgent need to discover and develop highly active, selective and stable heterogeneous CO2 hydrogenation catalysts that can improve the energy efficiency, economic flows, materials requirements and carbon footprints of tomorrows CO2 refineries.
Catalytic metal oxide nanomaterials, in principle can fulfill all of these needs. Their wide-ranging structures, myriad compositions, and controlled morphologies, enable efficacious CO2 reduction reactions to produce value-added chemicals and fuels. It is remarkable, however that it is the defects intentionally incorporated into these nanostructured metal oxides, allow the tailoring and optimization of their catalytic behaviour.
In this Chemical Society Reviews Tutorial, we present for the first time a chemistry blueprint for the implementation of different classes of defects in metal oxides that enable them to function as heterogeneous catalysts for the hydrogenation of gaseous CO2 to energy carriers, exemplified by carbon monoxide, methane, methanol and hydrocarbons. This blueprint represents a springboard for developing strategies to enable the design, synthesis, characterization, testing and optimization of nanostructured heterogeneous metal oxide CO2 hydrogenation catalysts. It will hopefully guide the development of highly efficient catalysts, reactors and processes optimised for the conversion of gaseous CO2 to valuable chemicals and fuels.
The full article can be read on the Chemical Society Reviews website.