Characterization led development of layered perovskite photoelectron-catalysts for carbon dioxide reduction

Principal investigator: Alessandra Sanson

Involved personnel: Nicola Sangiorgi, Linda Bergamini

Starting date: 01/03/2018
Duration: 24 mesi
Total funding: 13.314 €
Call: Bilateral project “The international Exchanges Scheme 2017: The Royal Society of Chemistry-CNR International Exchanges Award”
Coordinator: Simon Kondrat (Loughborough University)
Consortium: Loughborough University, CNR-ISTEC, University of Bologna
Official website:

Challenges associated with limited availability of fossil fuels, increasing energy demand and growing concentrations of green-house gasses in the atmosphere are important to address. To limit global temperature rise, sustainable technological solutions require immediate focus. Solar energy is the most abundant and renewable energy source available and can be used to overcome these issues. It is desirable to convert and store this intermittent energy into fuels, such as hydrocarbons through carbon dioxide reduction.

The objective of the project will be to establish a relationship between structures (number of perovskite layers, cation order) of titanium based layer perovskites to their capacity for photoelectrochemically converting carbon dioxide into fuels. Optimized preparation methods will be applied for producing double perovskites (AA’3B4O12) and double layer perovskite (DLP) of the Aurivillius phase with high surface area (while retaining phase purity).

We will then introduce more complex A and B site combinations and tailor perovskite layer thickness. We aim to control the cation arrangement and perovskite layer thickness, which will be studied through alteration in preparation methodology and characterized in detail, using X-ray diffraction XRD, pair distribution function (PDF) analysis and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS).

Attention will then be paid on understanding the effect of the deposition process and of local structure of the catalyst on the photo electrochemical performances. Various shaping processes will be studied and structural changes relative to the pristine DLP will be evaluated.

DLPs with different cation combinations and perovskite layers, prepared using different preparation and shaping methodologies, will be tested for carbon dioxide reduction. Determination of structural changes and the potential formation of amorphous layers after prolonged reaction times will be studied. Correlation between structure, activity and preparation methods will be used to design new high-performance catalyst formulations.
Post reaction characterization and correlation with catalytic performance will be used to determine if in-situ characterization methodologies are required. The research project will provide proof of principle for future in-situ/operando characterization studies.