Recently, we have concentrated on the development of hybrid materials by utilizing combination of metal oxide semiconductors thus capable of effective photoelectrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide. For example, the combination of titanium (IV) oxide and copper (I) oxide has been considered before and after sunlight illumination. Application of the hybrid system composed of both above-mentioned oxides resulted in high current densities originating from photoelectrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide mostly to methanol (CH3OH) as demonstrated upon identification of final products. Among important issue is intentional stabilization, activation, and functionalization of the mixed-metal-oxide-based photoelectrochemcal interface toward better long-term performance and selectivity production of small organic molecules (C1-C4) and other chemicals. In this respect, ultra-thin films of conducting polymers (simple or polyoxometallate-derivatized) and supramolecular complexes (with nitrogen containing ligands and certain transition metal sites), sub-monolayers of metals (Cu, Au), networks of noble metal (Au, Ag) nanoparticles or layers of robust bacterial biofilms have been considered.
The photo-biocathode with Cu-containing enzyme has induced the reduction of not only oxygen but carbon dioxide as well, under illuminations with photon energies higher than silicon band gap.
In the presentation, special attention will be paid to mechanistic aspects of electroreduction of carbon dioxide, fabrication and characterization of highly selective and durable semiconductor photoelectrode materials and to importance of the reaction conditions.