Most of the topics covered in this Review occur in a somewhat expanded form in J.M. Thomas & W.J. Thomas “Principles and Practice of Heterogeneous Catalysis, Second Completely Revised Edition”, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim 2014.
Heterogeneous Catalysis and the Challenges of Powering the Planet, Securing Chemicals for Civilised Life, and Clean Efficient Utilization of Renewable Feedstocks†
Article first published online: 2 JUL 2014
© 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
Volume 7, Issue 7, pages 1801–1832, July 2014
How to Cite
Thomas, J. M. (2014), Heterogeneous Catalysis and the Challenges of Powering the Planet, Securing Chemicals for Civilised Life, and Clean Efficient Utilization of Renewable Feedstocks. ChemSusChem, 7: 1801–1832. doi: 10.1002/cssc.201301202
- Issue published online: 28 JUL 2014
- Article first published online: 2 JUL 2014
- Manuscript Received: 7 NOV 2013
- carbon dioxide;
- heterogeneous catalysis;
- solar fuels;
- water splitting
This article reviews, first, the prospects, practices and principles of generating solar fuels. It does so with an analysis of recent progress in the light-driven emission of H2 (and other fuels) as well as O2 from water. To place this challenge in perspective, some current practices entailing the use of well-proven solid catalysts developed for fossil-based feedstocks, are described. The massive differences between proven methods of generating fuel and chemicals from non-renewable and from solar radiation are emphasized with the aid of numerous quantitative examples. Whilst it is acknowledged that a key action in reducing the liberation of greenhouse gases (GHG) is to tackle the challenge of decreasing their evolution in power generation and in the production of steel, aluminium and other bulk commodities (metals, alloys, concrete and ceramics), nevertheless much can be done to diminish the emission of CO2 (and to use it as feedstock) through the agency of new, designed solid catalysts and microalgae. Solar-thermal converters are also attractive alternatives, even though they are more likely to be used centrally rather than in small modular units like ‘artificial leaves,’ some of which are promising for the purposes of generating energy (and perhaps fuel) in a delocalized, modular manner.