Use of polluting fuels, like coal and oil, has caused many problems to the environment. Among these problems are the elevated levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, gas known to cause a potent greenhouse effect. Different methods to consume CO2 are employed, such as CO2 conversion using biomass, thermochemical conversion of CO2 and electrochemical reduction. Therefore, photocatalytic conversion of CO2 to hydrocarbons has been highlighted as an alternative for obtaining clean energy. However, these studies using synthetic materials are difficult and expensive. This PhD project aims at using modified molecular sieves as photocatalytic materials for direct conversion of CO2 in hydrocarbons, using only sunlight. Molecular sieves are important for their high surface area, porosity and relatively easy synthesis. Structural and morphological characterizations of the films will be made. The materials may be doped (with rare-earth ions, N or S) or decorated with semiconductor materials such as: CdS, CuO, TiO2 and carbon nanotubes and metallic Cu nanoparticles. Photocatalytic reduction of CO2 will be evaluated using a photochemical reactor, in which the sample will be irradiated using a solar simulator in the presence of water saturated carbon dioxide. Photocatalytic tests will be accompanied by gas chromatography (GC) and photoelectrochemical measurements in the dark and under illumination.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: