In the last decades, with the burning of fossil fuels, the effects of the increase of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere are being more and more felt. Climate change is caused by greenhouse gas emissions, 72% of which from CO2, 18% from methane and 9% from nitrogen oxide. Therefore, in the current energy context, limiting and valuating CO2 emissions are important.
Our research intends to reverse the process of fossil fuel combustion (traditionally going from hydrocarbon and oxygen to CO2, water and heat). This is already found in nature but the complete cycle can take years (biomass) to millions of years (production of fossil fuel). Using CO2 will allow the process to take several weeks or days. An application will be in industries where the cycle of fuel combustion would produce CO2 that can then be converted again, resulting in a neutral impact.
Since the development of the photo-dissociation of water into H2 and O2 in 1972, the interest in photo-catalysis is growing and is now an emergent technology from both an academic and an applicative point of view. It is based on the absorption of an energy radiation light. This absorption will generate an electrolysis allowing the production of dihydrogen that could then results in methanol.
Photo-catalysis can be found in nature in photosynthesis. The outcome of our research is to imitate this process to convert CO2 into bio-fuel by using a photo-luminescent reactor that wouldn’t require any energy except natural light.