Photocatalytic Reduction of CO2 to Formaldehyde: Role of Heterogeneous Photocatalytic Reactions in Origin of Life Hypothesis

Document Type: Articles


Department of Science Ardabil Branch, Islamic Azad University, P. O. Box 5615731567 Ardabil, Iran.


Photocatalytic reduction of carbon dioxide to formaldehyde was investigated on four semiconductor photocatalysts (FeS, FeS/FeS2, NiO and TiO2). The reaction was carried out in continues flow of CO2 gas bubbled into the reactor. Semiconductor photocatalysts were characterized by X-Ray diffraction (XRD) and Diffuse Reflectance Spectroscopic (DRS) methods. Sulfide ion was used as hole scavenger. The results show that the TiO2 has greater photocatalytic activity compared to the other photocatalysts, for example, maximum formaldehyde concentration were 720 and 380 ppm on TiO2 and NiO, respectively. Addition of carbonate ion causes an increase (around two times) in the concentration of formaldehyde. The yield of the formaldehyde decreased with decreasing concentration of the sulfide ion and the pH of the reaction mixture (from 700 ppm to 500 ppm). This investigation demonstrates that under ultraviolet radiation, carbon dioxide can be reduced to formaldehyde on semiconductor photocatalysts. This reaction could have been a possible chemical route to photosynthesis on the early Earth.


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