Advances in Clean Fuel Ethanol Production from CO2 Reduction

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catalysts Review Advances in Clean Fuel Ethanol Production from Electro-, Photo- and Photoelectro-Catalytic CO2 Reduction Yanfang Song 1, Wei Chen 1,* , Wei Wei 1,2,* and Yuhan Sun 1,2,3,* 1 2 3 * Correspondence: chenw@sari.ac.cn (W.C.); weiwei@sari.ac.cn (W.W.); sunyh@sari.ac.cn (Y.S.); Tel.: +86-21-20350954 (W.C.) Received: 22 October 2020; Accepted: 3 November 2020; Published: 5 November 2020 CAS Key Laboratory of Low-Carbon Conversion Science and Engineering, Shanghai Advanced Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201210, China; songyf@sari.ac.cn School of Physical Science and Technology, ShanghaiTech University, Shanghai 201210, China Shanghai Institute of Clean Technology, Shanghai 201620, China Abstract: Using renewable energy to convert CO2 to a clean fuel ethanol can not only reduce carbon emission through the utilization of CO2 as feedstock, but also store renewable energy as the widely used chemical and high-energy-density fuel, being considered as a perfect strategy to address current environment and energy issues. Developing efficient electrocatalysts, photocatalysts, and photoelectrocatalysts for CO2 reduction is the most crucial keystone for achieving this goal. Considerable progresses in CO2-based ethanol production have been made over the past decades. This review provides the general principles and summarizes the latest advancements in electrocatalytic, photocatalytic and photoelectrocatalytic CO2 conversion to ethanol. Furthermore, the main challenges and proposed future prospects are illustrated for further developments in clean fuel ethanol production. Keywords: CO2 reduction; ethanol; electrolysis; photocatalysis; photoelectrolysis 1. Introduction With the fast development of the economy and society, the ever-increasing demand for energy all over the world while the limited fossil fuel resources lead to an aggravated energy crisis [1,2]. The huge consumption of fossil fuels causes the constantly accumulating of CO2 in the atmosphere. By May 2020, the concentration of atmospheric CO2 reached another record of 412.69 parts per million (ppm) [3], far exceeding the upper safety limit of 350 ppm, which may cause disastrous environmental consequences such as global warming, polar glacier melting, rising sea level, etc. [4]. On the other hand, the renewable energy sources from wind, sun, etc., have been rapidly developed in recent years. Unfortunately, the power from these renewable energy sources cannot be integrated into the electric grid well due to the intrinsic inferiorities of instability and anti-peak-load regulating, resulting in the huge waste and development limitation [5]. An ideal strategy to solve the energy and environmental problems is to convert CO2 into fuels and value-added chemicals using renewable electricity and/or solar energy. Such a strategy can not only reduce the concentration of atmospheric CO2 through the utilization of CO2 as feedstock, but also store renewable energy as fuels and useful chemicals, thus relieving our dependency on fossil fuels [6–8]. Powered by renewable electricity and/or solar energy, CO2 can be reduced to clean fuels, such as carbon monoxide (CO), methane, formic acid, methanol, ethanol, etc. [9,10]. By contrast, ethanol, a kind of clean and renewable liquid fuel with a higher heating value of −1366.8 kJ·mol−1, is a preferred product. With a higher energy density, easier to store and transport than that of gas products, ethanol has also 􏰁􏰂􏰃 􏰅􏰆􏰇 􏰈􏰉􏰊􏰋􏰌􏰂􏰍 Catalysts 2020, 10, 1287; doi:10.3390/catal10111287 www.mdpi.com/journal/catalysts

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