Toward solar-driven carbon recycling

Huiwen Lin, Shunqin Luo, Huabin Zhang, Jinhua Ye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Carbon recycling will become a dominant trend toward alleviating extreme climate change and coping with the increasing energy demand in the coming years. Solar-driven strategies have the potential to convert CO2 and solar energy to fuels and chemicals. In this forward-looking perspective, a framework is outlined to achieve a “net-zero emission” blueprint by sorting out the raw sources, potential products, feasible pathways, and practical implementation through photocatalysis, photothermal catalysis, and photoelectrochemical catalysis techniques. We comprehensively inspect and compare the state-of-art works in this framework, including solar-driven C1 fuel production from CO2, as well as direct and stepwise C2+ fuel production involving solar-driven C1 conversion. This analysis aspires to provide the most feasible pathway forward and finds that converting CO2 with renewable H2 into C1 can currently obtain the best solar-to-fuel conversion efficiency and that stepwise C2+ fuel production can target products with high selectivity. Future visions on scientific, technological, and economic issues are put forward to determine what should be the focus in the following decades.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-314
Number of pages21
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 16 2022


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