The clean conversion of carbon dioxide and water to a single multicarbon product and O2 using sunlight via photocatalysis without the assistance of organic additives or electricity remains an unresolved challenge. Here we report a bio-abiotic hybrid system with the non-photosynthetic, CO2-fixing acetogenic bacterium Sporomusa ovata grown on a scalable and cost-effective photocatalyst sheet consisting of a pair of particulate semiconductors (La and Rh co-doped SrTiO3 (SrTiO3:La,Rh) and Mo-doped BiVO4 (BiVO4:Mo)). The biohybrid effectively produces acetate (CH3COO–) and oxygen (O2) using only sunlight, CO2 and H2O, achieving a solar-to-acetate conversion efficiency of 0.7% at ambient conditions (298 K, 1 atm). The photocatalyst sheet oxidizes water to O2 and provides electrons and hydrogen (H2) to S. ovata for the selective synthesis of CH3COO– from CO2. To demonstrate utility in a closed carbon cycle, the solar-generated acetate was used directly as feedstock in a bioelectrochemical system for electricity generation. These semi-biological approaches thus offer a promising strategy for sustainably and cleanly fixing CO2 and closing the carbon cycle.
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All source data that support the findings of this study are available from the University of Cambridge data repository: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.84871.
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We thank M. Rahaman, L. Su and M. Miller (University of Cambridge) for helpful discussions, and H. Greer at the University of Cambridge for assisting in the collection of SEM–EDX element-mapping images. This work was supported by the European Research Council Consolidator Grant ‘MatEnSAP’ (no. 682833 to E.R.), the UK Research and Innovation Cambridge Creative Circular Plastics Centre (grant no. EP/S025308), European Marie Sklodowska-Curie individual Fellowships (nos. GAN 793996 to Q.W. and GAN 744317 to S.K.), Research England’s Expanding Excellence in England (E3) Fund (to S.K.), the Cambridge Trust (Cambridge Thai Foundation Award to C.P.) and a Trinity-Henry Barlow Scholarship (to C.P.).
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Wang, Q., Kalathil, S., Pornrungroj, C. et al. Bacteria–photocatalyst sheet for sustainable carbon dioxide utilization. Nat Catal 5, 633–641 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41929-022-00817-z
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