The key challenge for green solar fuel synthesis from CO2 is to develop highly effective catalysts that enable the transformation, ideally operating at relatively low temperature and pressure. The program will employ two approaches: 1) heterogeneous catalysis using recently developed atomically dispersed metal catalysts supported on substrates, and 2) electrochemical catalysis using Cu blends-based sequential catalysts for green fuel synthesis from CO2. The first approach, which is readily amenable to eventual industrialization, will constitute the primary focus of this program, while the second approach will lay the ground for a path breaking alternative paradigm, albeit with a longer path towards commercialization.

In addition to adopting the conventional approach for catalyst development, we will reinforce and accelerate the process by conducting a combination of ab initio modeling studies and advanced in situ spectroscopic investigations, and further adopt the automated high throughput synthesis technology for fast screening of the catalysts. In parallel, we will carry out catalyst reaction engineering in membrane reactors tailor-made for low temperature and low-pressure methanol and ethanol production. To increase the technology readiness of the new catalytic system for large-scale testing, the program will also conduct intensive process design and optimization, economic analysis and life-cycle evaluation of the catalysts.