Research Topic

Harnessing Solar Energy for a Sustainable Future

About this Research Topic

Photo(electro)catalysis can be applied into various processes: (i) hydrogen generation from water splitting; (ii) CO2 reduction to produce hydrocarbon fuels; (iii) environmental and biological monitoring; (iv) organic transformation including the degradation of organic pollutants and synthesis of fine chemicals, to name a few. Mimicking photosynthesis driven by solar energy in order to achieve these applications can be critical in mitigating the negative impacts on the environment, thanks to the renewability of solar energy, the moderate reaction conditions required (close to ambient), and its environmental friendliness. In photo(electro)catalysis, the photons from solar energy can be harvested to trigger electron-hole pairs separation on semiconductor materials and facilitate the respective redox reaction on the adsorbed targets, cultivating the basis of numerous meaningful photo(electro)catalytic applications.

Photo(electro)chemical processes can be divided into three fundamental steps: light absorption, charge separation and diffusion to the surface and charge injection into the adsorbed targets. These processes require the photo(electro)catalysts to be stable in aqueous or gaseous situations and to have the potential to be fabricated at a low cost. To this date, no semiconducting material has yet been developed that meets these requirements satisfactorily. To this end, more efforts should be devoted to exploring composite materials to fulfill multiple functionalities. What is more, even though many efficient semiconductor materials have been designed for photo(electro)catalysis, the mechanism studies of the underlying reasons are still limited. Advanced characterization and computation studies are also important. Lastly, one of the limitations of photo(electro)catalysis is the reaction system. In particular, this process requires photons to excite the photo(electro)catalyst. Therefore, reactors need to be designed in such a way, so that the sunlight can penetrate through, reaching the catalyst too.

This Research Topic will address recent advances in the areas of nanomaterials, nanotechnology, mechanism studies, and reactor developments for photo(electro)catalytic applications in energy conversion and storage, green chemical production, and environmental sustainability. We invite the submission of Original Research, Review, Mini Review, Perspective articles on themes including, but not limited to:

• Photo(electro)catalysis in CO2 reduction, H2 production, ammonia synthesis, and environmental applications
• Mechanism study in photo(electro)catalysis by advanced characterization and computation
• Reactor system and engineering to address technical challenges of photo(electro)catalysis.


Keywords: Solar Energy, photocatalysis, CO2 conversion, H2 production, environmental sustainability


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Photo(electro)catalysis can be applied into various processes: (i) hydrogen generation from water splitting; (ii) CO2 reduction to produce hydrocarbon fuels; (iii) environmental and biological monitoring; (iv) organic transformation including the degradation of organic pollutants and synthesis of fine chemicals, to name a few. Mimicking photosynthesis driven by solar energy in order to achieve these applications can be critical in mitigating the negative impacts on the environment, thanks to the renewability of solar energy, the moderate reaction conditions required (close to ambient), and its environmental friendliness. In photo(electro)catalysis, the photons from solar energy can be harvested to trigger electron-hole pairs separation on semiconductor materials and facilitate the respective redox reaction on the adsorbed targets, cultivating the basis of numerous meaningful photo(electro)catalytic applications.

Photo(electro)chemical processes can be divided into three fundamental steps: light absorption, charge separation and diffusion to the surface and charge injection into the adsorbed targets. These processes require the photo(electro)catalysts to be stable in aqueous or gaseous situations and to have the potential to be fabricated at a low cost. To this date, no semiconducting material has yet been developed that meets these requirements satisfactorily. To this end, more efforts should be devoted to exploring composite materials to fulfill multiple functionalities. What is more, even though many efficient semiconductor materials have been designed for photo(electro)catalysis, the mechanism studies of the underlying reasons are still limited. Advanced characterization and computation studies are also important. Lastly, one of the limitations of photo(electro)catalysis is the reaction system. In particular, this process requires photons to excite the photo(electro)catalyst. Therefore, reactors need to be designed in such a way, so that the sunlight can penetrate through, reaching the catalyst too.

This Research Topic will address recent advances in the areas of nanomaterials, nanotechnology, mechanism studies, and reactor developments for photo(electro)catalytic applications in energy conversion and storage, green chemical production, and environmental sustainability. We invite the submission of Original Research, Review, Mini Review, Perspective articles on themes including, but not limited to:

• Photo(electro)catalysis in CO2 reduction, H2 production, ammonia synthesis, and environmental applications
• Mechanism study in photo(electro)catalysis by advanced characterization and computation
• Reactor system and engineering to address technical challenges of photo(electro)catalysis.


Keywords: Solar Energy, photocatalysis, CO2 conversion, H2 production, environmental sustainability


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

29 October 2021 Abstract
28 January 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

29 October 2021 Abstract
28 January 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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