Carbon-based photocatalysts to produce solar fuels and chemicals from biomass-derived molecules

MATOS, J.; MONTAÑA, R.; GONCALVES, R.; SCHETTINO, M.; PASSAMANI, E.; FREITAS, J.:
Proceedings of the 5th Latin American Congress on Biorefineries – From laboratory to industrial practice, January 2019 pp18-21.

Introduction

Solar fuels produced from simple and abundant molecules are a promising strategy for the utilization of a renewable energy source such as sunlight. However, the efficiency of current photocatalysts is still low and far for the practical application. The H2 production by direct water splitting and the CO2 reduction are the two main reactions concerning with solar fuels. In this context, it has been widely showed that noble metal/graphene-based catalysts are suitable for these reactions. Another strategy for fuels production is the photo-assisted valorization of subproducts of the biorefinery and biodiesel industries (e.g., furfuryl alcohol, 5-hydroximethyl furfural, glycerol). The valorisation of these molecules through their chemical transformation into aldehydes or ketones is an important strategy to obtain valuable compounds such as five or six-member dioxane-based carbocycles. In this sense, the objective of this work is to explore a photocatalytic approach using carbon and copper-doped TiO2-based catalysts for the valorization of furfuryl alcohol, 5-hydroximethyl furfural using solar light.

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