Current research in CO2 catalytical conversion is usually conducted with single-pass lab-scale reactors. Operating conditions affecting catalyst performance optimized for these reactors were not necessarily transferrable for large scale applications.
Herein we report a scalable optofluidic photoreactor based on glass waveguides coated with photocatalyst. Inside the “shell-and-tube” reactor design, tubes are replaced by internal light-guiding waveguides with specially designed scattering surfaces to enable deep and efficient penetration of the light irradiation.
Using reverse water–gas shift (RWGS) as a pilot reaction, the effect of temperature, light irradiation and residence time on the photocatalytic activity of this photoreactor platform was examined.
We report a surface-engineered glass waveguide based optofluidic reactor system. Photocatalyst is coated on waveguide surfaces and is activated under light irradiation. In traditional design, light gradually spreads and diminishes along the waveguide, leading to non-uniform distribution of light energy. Here we present a method for modifying glass waveguide surfaces through gradient etching, to extend light transmission length and make light refraction more uniform. The effect of waveguide dimensions and etching patterns on the light refraction intensity profiles along transmission was examined. These waveguides with specially designed surfaces were applied in an optofluidic reactor for photocatalytically converting CO2 into fuels.