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Preparation and Characterization of CuFe2O4/TiO2 Photocatalyst for the Conversion of CO2 into Methanol under Visible Light

Authors: Md. Maksudur Rahman Khan, M. Rahim Uddin, Hamidah Abdullah, Kaykobad Md. Rezaul Karim, Abu Yousuf, Chin Kui Cheng, Huei Ruey Ong


A systematic study was conducted to explore the photocatalytic reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) into methanol on TiO2 loaded copper ferrite (CuFe2O4) photocatalyst under visible light irradiation. The phases and crystallite size of the photocatalysts were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and it indicates CuFe2O4 as tetragonal phase incorporation with anatase TiO2 in CuFe2O4/TiO2 hetero-structure. The XRD results confirmed the formation of spinel type tetragonal CuFe2O4 phases along with predominantly anatase phase of TiO2 in the CuFe2O4/TiO2 hetero-structure. UV-Vis absorption spectrum suggested the formation of the hetero-junction with relatively lower band gap than that of TiO2. Photoluminescence (PL) technique was used to study the electron–hole (e/h+) recombination process. PL spectra analysis confirmed the slow-down of the recombination of electron–hole (e/h+) pairs in the CuFe2O4/TiO2 hetero-structure. The photocatalytic performance of CuFe2O4/TiO2 was evaluated based on the methanol yield with varying amount of TiO2 over CuFe2O4 (0.5:1, 1:1, and 2:1) and changing light intensity. The mechanism of the photocatalysis was proposed based on the fact that the predominant species of CO2 in aqueous phase were dissolved CO2 and HCO3- at pH ~5.9. It was evident that the CuFe2O4 could harvest the electrons under visible light irradiation, which could further be injected to the conduction band of TiO2 to increase the life time of the electron and facilitating the reactions of CO2 to methanol. The developed catalyst showed good recycle ability up to four cycles where the loss of activity was ~25%. Methanol was observed as the main product over CuFe2O4, but loading with TiO2 remarkably increased the methanol yield. Methanol yield over CuFe2O4/TiO2 was found to be about three times higher (651 μmol/gcat L) than that of CuFe2O4 photocatalyst. This occurs because the energy of the band excited electrons lies above the redox potentials of the reaction products CO2/CH3OH.

Keywords: Photocatalysis, CuFe2O4/TiO2, band-gap energy, methanol.

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