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Boosting light-driven CO2 reduction into solar fuels: Mainstream avenues for engineering ZnO-based photocatalysts


Shilpa Patial, Rohit Kumar, Pankaj Raizada, Pardeep Singh, Quyet Van Le, Eric Lichtfouse, Dang Le Tri Nguyen, Van-Huy Nguyen

Source title: 
Environmental Research, 197: 111134, 2021 (ISI)
Academic year of acceptance: 

The realization of artificial photosynthesis in the photocatalytic CO2 transformation into valuable chemicals or solar fuels, such as CO, CH4, HCOOH, and CH3OH, by solar-light harvesting is a promising solution to both global-warming and energy-supply issues. Recently, zinc oxide (ZnO) has emerged as an excellent oxidative photocatalyst among non-titanium metal oxides due to its availability, outstanding semiconducting and optical properties, non-toxicity, affordability, and ease of synthesis. However, ZnO wide bandgap and inability to absorb in the visible region has demanded particular modification for its practical use as a sustainable photocatalyst. This review provides a panorama of the latest advancement on ZnO photocatalysis for CO2 reduction with an overview of fundamental aspects. Various modification strategies such as transition metal and non-metal doping, loading of plasmonic metals, and surface vacancy engineering for tunning the properties and improving the performance of ZnO are elaborated. Composites or hetero-structuralization-based Z-scheme formation is also presented along with a detailed photocatalytic reduction mechanism. Moreover, a new novel Step-scheme (S-scheme) heterostructure modification with a charge transfer pathway mechanism is also highlighted. Finally, the key challenges and new directions in this field are proposed to provide a new vision for further improvement for ZnO-based photocatalytic CO2 conversion.