Toward efficient single-atom catalysts for renewable fuels and chemicals production from biomass and CO2
Transformation of biomass and CO2 into renewable value-added chemicals and fuels has been identified as a promising strategy to fulfill high energy demands, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and exploit under-utilized resources. Cost-effective and performance-efficient catalysts are of great importance to lowering the conversion cost of biomass and CO2. Significant progress has been made to advance the catalyst design for these processes, with metal catalysts playing a critical role in many involved catalytic reactions. Traditional nanoparticle-based metal catalysts still require improvement in metal utilization rates, stability, and selectivity tunability. Single-atom catalysts, which have maximum atomic efficiency and a uniform and tunable metal center, as well as an adjustable metal-support interaction, provide potential opportunities to boost catalyst efficiency and thermal stability. Their well-defined and uniform structure also provides advantages to fundamental studies for understanding of the intrinsic reaction mechanism and site requirement in biomass and CO2 conversion. Here, we summarize and highlight the recent advances in converting biomass and CO2 to renewable fuels and chemicals using single-atom catalysts. We discuss the design principles of single-atom catalysts and their potential applications to biomass and CO2 upgrading as well as the origins of catalytic activity. Moreover, we compare the catalytic efficiency of various catalysts reported thus to provide a fair assessment of these catalysts. Finally, perspectives are given on the interesting fields that may guide future studies.