Catalytic conversion of carbon dioxide to methanol and higher order alcohols at a photoelectrochemical interface

Kate Keets, Amanda Morris, Elizabeth Zeitler, Prasad Lakkaraju, Andrew Bocarsly

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations


There is increasing interest in photochemical schemes for converting CO2 into a useful product as a means of mitigating atmospheric levels of this gas. Although photoelectrochemical schemes have been considered for this application, typically very high overpotentials are observed, and thus, semiconductor-electrolyte interfaces have not been observed to actually convert light energy to chemical energy in the aqueous CO2 redox system. We report here on a catalytic system that efficiently converts CO2 to methanol and other alcohols. The system couples a III-V p-type semiconductor electrode with a pyridinium catalyst. The conversion of CO2 to alcohols can be driven solely with light to yield faradaic efficiencies approaching 100% at potentials well below the thermodynamic potential. Mechanistic studies on the formation of methanol indicate that the observed six-electron reduction occurs via a series of one electron reductions mediated by pyridinium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSolar Hydrogen and Nanotechnology V
StatePublished - 2010
EventSolar Hydrogen and Nanotechnology V - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 3 2010Aug 5 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherSolar Hydrogen and Nanotechnology V
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • CO mitigation
  • Electrocatalysis
  • III-V semiconductors
  • Photoelectrochemistry


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