The photothermal conversion of CO2 provides a straightforward and effective method for the highly efficient production of solar fuels with high solar-light utilization efficiency. This is due to several crucial features of the Group VIII nanocatalysts, including effective energy utilization over the whole range of the solar spectrum, excellent photothermal performance, and unique activation abilities. Photothermal CO2 reaction rates (mol h−1 g−1) that are several orders of magnitude larger than those obtained with photocatalytic methods (μmol h−1 g−1) were thus achieved. It is proposed that the overall water-based CO2 conversion process can be achieved by combining light-driven H2 production from water and photothermal CO2 conversion with H2. More generally, this work suggests that traditional catalysts that are characterized by intense photoabsorption will find new applications in photo-induced green-chemistry processes.