Use of steel slag as catalyst for artificial photosynthesis
A team of CNR-ICCOM researchers from the Bari (Caterina Fusco) and Sesto Fiorentino sites (Werner Oberhauser), in collaboration with colleagues from the Chemistry Department of the University of Bari Michele Casiello, Pasquale Pisani, with Antonio Monopoli, Angelo Nacci and Lucia D’Accolti (ICCOM associates), of CNR-NANOTEC site in Bari (Firenza Fanelli) and the Research and Development Center of Acciaierie d’Italia based in Taranto (Rosella Attrotto), has realized a process that allows the use of steel slag as a catalyst for artificial photosynthesis. The results of the research were published in “Scientific Reports”.
By using only waste products from the steel industry, such as CO2 and steel processing water as reactants and steel slag as a photocatalyst, the possibility of obtaining solar fuels, hydrogen and methanol was demonstrated. This approach is in line with the principles of Circular Economy and the indications of the European Community to use catalysts based on “non critical materials” for industry. In this process, it was possible to replace semiconductors that are commonly used as photocatalysts, which have the disadvantage of being very expensive and coming from areas of geopolitical crisis.
Finally, the pioneering process allows to reduce one of the main greenhouse gases (CO2) by using an insulating material such as steel slag, consisting of calcium aluminate with iron impurities as a photocatalyst, instead of the traditional and expensive semiconductors commonly used for this purpose. such as titanium oxide.
Fusco C .; Casiello M .; Pisani P .; Monopoli A .; Fanelli F .; Oberhauser W .; Attrotto R .; Nacci A .; D’Accolti L. Steel slag as low-cost catalyst for artificial photosynthesis to convert CO2 and water into hydrogen and methanol. Scientific Reports 2022, 12, art. no. 11378.
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