Earth, Space, and Environmental Chemistry

The Potential of Photoelectrochemical Carbon Sinks



Greenhouse gas emissions must be cut to limit global warming to 1.5-2C above preindustrial levels. Yet the rate of decarbonisation is currently too low to achieve this. Policy-relevant scenarios therefore rely on the permanent removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. However, none of the envisaged technologies has demonstrated scalability to the decarbonization targets for the year 2050. In this analysis, we show that artificial photosynthesis for CO2 reduction may deliver an efficient large-scale carbon sink. This technology is mainly developed towards solar fuels and its potential for negative emissions has been largely overlooked. With high efficiency and low sensitivity to high temperature and illumination conditions, it could, if developed towards a mature technology, present a viable approach to fill the gap in the negative emissions budget.

Version notes

Corrected x-axis label in figure.


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