From: University of Texas, Arlington via ScienceDaily
Published September 23, 2016 09:33 AM

Inexpensive semiconducting organic polymers can harvest sunlight to split carbon dioxide into alcohol fuels

Chemists at The University of Texas at Arlington have been the first to demonstrate that an organic semiconductor polymer called polyaniline is a promising photocathode material for the conversion of carbon dioxide into alcohol fuels without the need for a co-catalyst.

"This opens up a new field of research into new applications for inexpensive, readily available organic semiconducting polymers within solar fuel cells," said principal researcher Krishnan Rajeshwar, UTA distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry and co-Director of UTA's Center for Renewable Energy, Science & Technology.

"These organic semiconducting polymers also demonstrate several technical advantages, including that they do not need a co-catalyst to sustain the conversion to alcohol products and the conversion can take place at lower temperatures and use less energy, which would further reduce costs," Rajeshwar added.

Rajeshwar and his co-author Csaba Janaky, professor in the Department of Physical Chemistry and Materials Science at the University of Szeged, recently published their findings in The Royal Society of Chemistry journal ChemComm as "Polyaniline films photoelectrochemically reduce CO2 to alcohols."

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Image credit: Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service

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