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Heterogeneous photocatalytic nanomaterials: prospects and challenges in selective transformations of biomass-derived compounds


Heterogeneous photocatalysis has become a comprehensively studied area of research during the past three decades due to its practical interest in applications including water – air depollution, cancer therapy, sterilization, artificial photosynthesis (CO2 photoreduction), anti-fogging surfaces, heat transfer and heat dissipation, anticorrosion, lithography, photochromism, solar chemicals production and many others. The utilization of solar irradiation to supply energy or to initiate chemical reactions is already an established idea. Excited electron – hole pairs are generated upon light irradiation of a wide-band gap semiconductor which can be applied to solar cells to generate electricity or in chemical processes to create/​degrade specific compounds. While the field of heterogeneous photocatalysis for pollutant abatement and mineralisation of contaminants has been extensively investigated, a new research avenue related to the selective valorisation of residues has recently emerged as a promising alternative to utilise solar light for the production of valuable chemicals and fuels. This tutorial review will focus on the potential and applications of solid photonanocatalysts for the selective transformation of biomass-derived substrates.

Juan Carlos Colmenares and Rafael Luque. Chemical Society Reviews43 (2014) 765 – 778

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