Today is Geoff’s 79th birthday. Besides celebrating it online with family, friends, colleagues and alumni on the topic of “ride the train, save the world”, a birthday paper entitled “Accelerated optochemical engineering solutions to CO2 photocatalysis for a sustainable future” has been online today. In this perspective, Geoff systematically looked at the past and present of the gas-phase heterogeneous CO2 photocatalysis by introduction of the background and summary on the state-of-the-arts.
Geoff points out that the vision of CO2 photocatalysis is to produce a pyramid of fundamental chemicals from CO2 and H2O to counter the climate change as illustrated in above picture, and currently, there are four main directions in seeking for high solar-to-chemical energy efficiency: 1) Materials engineering strategies and new reactor designs for enhanced-performance heterogeneous CO2 photocatalysis; 2) Computational modeling of design strategies for studying light and heat transport in photocatalytic CO2 hydrogenation processes; 3) Comparison of thermochemical, photochemical, and photothermal CO2 utilization strategies and future opportunities; 4) Determining key technoeconomic decision-making criteria for assessing photocatalytic process viability and potential the cost of a mole of photons to generate a mole of product is a pivotal metric to decide whether or not the industrialization of CO2 photocatalysis is technologically and economically viable.
Based on this, Geoff proposes that the accelerated development of the CO2 photocatalysis is necessary given the looming climate change. The vision is based on revolutionary scientific advances of self-driving laboratories that are expected to creatively integrate artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotic automation, and data management tools to accelerate the discovery of high-efficiency photocatalysts and photoreactors through fast, low-cost, and parallel rather than slow and expensive serial procedures. See full story at Matter.