Photocatalytic uphill conversion of natural gas beyond the limitation of thermal reaction systems

Shusaku Shoji, Xiaobo Peng, Akira Yamaguchi, Ryo Watanabe, Choji Fukuhara, Yohei Cho, Tomokazu Yamamoto, Syo Matsumura, Min Wen Yu, Satoshi Ishii, Takeshi Fujita, Hideki Abe, Masahiro Miyauchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

187 Citations (Scopus)


Dry reforming of methane is one of the key reactions to exploit natural gas feedstocks by their catalytic conversion to synthesis gas (CH4 + CO2 → 2H2 + 2CO), which is used in the production of transportable liquid fuel. However, this reaction suffers from thermodynamic conversion limits and high thermal energy requirements. Herein we report that a SrTiO3-supported rhodium (Rh/STO) catalyst efficiently promotes methane reforming under ultraviolet light irradiation without heat supply at low temperatures, which cannot be achieved by conventional thermal catalysis. The photoexcited holes and electrons are used for CH4 oxidation over STO and CO2 reduction over rhodium, respectively. Isotope analysis clarified that the lattice oxygens (O2−) act as mediator to drive dry reforming of methane. The materials design of Rh/STO can be extended in principle to diverse uphill reactions that utilize photon energy to obtain valued products from different carbon resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-153
Number of pages6
JournalNature Catalysis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


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