Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are relentlessly increasing due to fossil fuel combustion which is significantly contributing to global warming. In addition to the global warming implications of fossil fuel usage, supplies of liquid fuels critical for modern life will become more scarce physically and economically. To combat these dual problems of CO2 sequestration and liquid fuel shortages, renewable energy could be stored in the form of liquid fuels using CO2 as the feedstock. A significant barrier to this process is the lack of an efficient and robust catalyst for CO2 reduction, especially catalysts achieving higher order products like methanol, ethanol, or butanol. The Bocarsly group seeks to uncover the mechanism of CO2 electrochemical and photoelectrochemical reduction with various systems, including p-block metals, bimetallic alloys, and organometallic complexes. Semiconductors have been employed for both direct and homogeneously catalyzed CO2 reduction.
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