(19)
(11)EP 3 006 604 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
12.12.2018 Bulletin 2018/50

(21)Application number: 14803965.4

(22)Date of filing:  29.05.2014
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
C25B 11/04(2006.01)
C25B 1/00(2006.01)
C25B 11/06(2006.01)
C25B 9/08(2006.01)
B01J 31/02(2006.01)
C25B 9/00(2006.01)
C25B 11/08(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2014/064334
(87)International publication number:
WO 2014/192891 (04.12.2014 Gazette  2014/49)

(54)

REDUCTION CATALYST AND CHEMICAL REACTOR

REDUKTIONSKATALYSATOR UND CHEMISCHER REAKTOR

CATALYSEUR DE RÉDUCTION ET RÉACTEUR CHIMIQUE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 29.05.2013 JP 2013113438
13.12.2013 JP 2013258218

(43)Date of publication of application:
13.04.2016 Bulletin 2016/15

(73)Proprietor: Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba
Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-8001 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • TAMURA, Jun
    Tokyo 105-8001 (JP)
  • MIKOSHIBA, Satoshi
    Tokyo 105-8001 (JP)
  • ONO, Akihiko
    Tokyo 105-8001 (JP)
  • HUANG, Chingchun
    Tokyo 105-8001 (JP)
  • KUDO, Yuki
    Tokyo 105-8001 (JP)
  • KITAGAWA, Ryota
    Tokyo 105-8001 (JP)
  • TSUTSUMI, Eishi
    Tokyo 105-8001 (JP)
  • SUGANO, Yoshitsune
    Tokyo 105-8001 (JP)

(74)Representative: Hoffmann Eitle 
Patent- und Rechtsanwälte PartmbB Arabellastraße 30
81925 München
81925 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2011/132375
JP-A- H0 463 115
JP-A- S59 112 938
JP-A- 2010 184 195
US-A- 5 284 563
WO-A1-2012/006240
JP-A- H07 310 107
JP-A- 2002 179 420
JP-A- 2011 094 194
US-A1- 2012 111 737
  
  • BHUPENDRA KUMAR ET AL: "Photochemical and Photoelectrochemical Reduction of CO 2", ANNUAL REVIEW OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY, vol. 63, no. 1, 5 May 2012 (2012-05-05), pages 541-569, XP055114538, ISSN: 0066-426X, DOI: 10.1146/annurev-physchem-032511-143759
  • SHOICHIRO IKEDA ET AL.: 'Properties of metal coated p-GaP photocathodes in photoelectrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide in aqueous electrolytes' JOURNAL OF THE CHEMICAL SOCIETY OF JAPAN 10 August 1988, pages 1141 - 1145, XP055297308
  • ATSUMU IMASATO ET AL.: 'Suiyoeki-chu ni Okeru Do Denkyoku o Mochiita CO2 Denkai Kangen ni Oyobosu Yonkyu Ammonium En Tenka no Eikyo' CSJ: THE CHEMICAL SOCIETY OF JAPAN DAI 60 SHUKI NENKAI (GAN RENGO TORONKAI) KAGAKU KANKEIGAKU KYOKAI RENGO KYOGIKAI KENKYU HAPPYOKAI GODO TAIKAI KOEN YOKOSHU II 12 September 1990, page 665, XP008182331
  
Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


Description

Technical Field



[0001] Embodiments of the present invention relate to a reduction catalyst and a chemical reactor.

Background Art



[0002] From the viewpoint of energy problems and environmental problems, CO2 is required to be efficiently reduced using light energy, such as in plants. Plants use a system called the Z-scheme which excites light energy in two stages. Due to a photochemical reaction in such a system, plants oxidize water (H2O) to obtain electrons, and, thus, to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2), thereby synthesizing cellulose and sugars.

[0003] However, the technologies for obtaining electrons from water, via dissolving CO2 through an artificial photochemical reaction without using any sacrificial reagent, are of very low efficiency.

[0004] For example, Patent Literature 1 as a photochemical reactor is provided with an electrode for an oxidation reaction for oxidizing H2O to produce oxygen (O2) and an electrode for a reduction reaction for reducing CO2 to produce a carbon compound. The electrode for oxidation reaction is provided with an oxidation catalyst for oxidizing H2O on a surface of a photocatalyst and gains a potential via the light energy. The electrode for reduction reaction is provided with a reduction catalyst for reducing CO2 on a surface of the photocatalyst and is connected to the electrode for oxidation reaction with an electric wire. The electrode for reduction reaction gains a reduction potential of CO2 from the electrode for oxidation reaction to reduce CO2, and, thus, to produce formic acid (HCOOH). Thus, to gain the potential necessary for reducing CO2 using an optical wavelength and a photocatalyst, the photochemical reaction device employs a Z-scheme-type artificial photosynthesis system that imitates plants.

[0005] However, in Patent Literature 1, the solar energy conversion efficiency is very low at around 0.04%. This is because the energy efficiency of the photocatalyst excited by the optical wavelength is low. Since the electrode for reduction reaction is connected to the electrode for oxidation reaction with an electric wire, the efficiency in extracting electricity (electric current) decreases due to interconnection resistance, thus the efficiency becomes low.

[0006] Non Patent Literature 1 provides a configuration in which a silicon solar cell is used for achieving the reaction potential and catalysts are provided on both sides of the silicon solar cell to produce a reaction. The solar energy conversion efficiency is very high at around 2.5%. Since this device has a structure requiring no wiring, it can be easily increased in size. As examples of the features of the device, a cell itself serves as a divider plate to allow for isolation of a product, and, thus, to eliminate a process for separating the product.

[0007] However, for this device, there are no examples of success in the reduction reaction of CO2. Such a plate-like laminated structure does not take into consideration the fact that, for the CO2 reduction reaction, ions with a positive charge generated on the oxidation side and ions with a negative charge generated on the reduction side need to move to the opposite sides. In an oxidation-reduction reaction in which H2O is used as an electron donor instead of a sacrificial catalyst, in particular, proton (hydrogen ion (H+)) movement or hydroxide ion (OH-) movement is indispensable.

[0008] Non Patent Literature 2 reports CO2 reduction activities in various metal electrodes. In a CO2 reduction reaction, electrons and protons are reacted with CO2 to produce a hydrocarbon such as carbon monoxide (CO), formic acid (HCOOH), methanol (CH3OH), and methane (CH4). Hydrocarbons produced by a reduction reaction differ depending on the number of electrons obtained by the reduction reaction. For example, carbon monoxide and formic acid are produced by a reaction with two electrons, methanol is produced by a reaction with six electrodes, and methane is produced by a reaction with eight electrons. In a reaction for producing any hydrocarbon, a standard oxidation-reduction potential is substantially equivalent to a reaction for reducing hydrogen ions to produce hydrogen. However, a large overvoltage (excess energy) is actually required for a reduction reaction of a first electron, and the reduction reaction hardly proceeds. In a reduction reaction with a larger number of electrons, it is more difficult to advance the reduction reaction with a Faraday efficiency. In order to carry out a CO2 reduction reaction for producing a desired hydrocarbon with selectively high efficiency, a highly active electrode catalyst is required.

[0009] In Non Patent Literature 3, a CO2 reduction reaction is carried out in an electrode provided with an organic molecule for solidifying an Au catalyst on an Si substrate. More specifically, the Si substrate absorbs light to separate charges, and, thus, to produce an electron. The produced electron is then transferred to the Au catalyst through a molecule bound to the Si substrate, and the CO2 reduction reaction is carried out on the Au catalyst.

[0010] As described above, a CO2 reduction technique having high reaction efficiency is required.

[0011] Furthermore, US 2012/0111737 A1 is concerned with reduction catalysts prepared from carbon nanotubes. The catalysts are produced by milling the carbon nanotubes in the presence of nitrogen. At the points, where the nanotubes are broken, reactive intermediates are generated which may react with the nitrogen to form pyridinic, pyrrolic, and/or quaternary nitrogen groups directly in the surface of the carbon nanotubes. The reduction catalysts do not have a charge collector with a metal layer on the surface as a substrate. The reduction catalysts do not have quaternary nitrogen cations attached via a modified organic molecule to the surface of the metal layer.

Citation List


Patent Literature



[0012] Patent Literature 1: Jpn. Pat. Appln. KOKAI Publication No. 2011-094194

Non Patent Literatures



[0013] 

Non Patent Literature 1: S. Y. Reece, et al., Science. vol. 334. pp. 645 (2011)

Non Patent Literature 2: Y. Hori, et al., Electrochim. Acta. 1994, 39, 1833

Non Patent Literature 3: Yu Sun, et al., Chem. Lett. 2012, 41, 328


Summary of Invention


Technical Problem



[0014] It is an object of this invention to provide a reduction catalyst and a chemical reactor having a CO2 reduction technique having a high reaction efficiency.

Solution to Problem



[0015] The object is solved by the reduction catalyst and the chemical reactor as defined in the independent claims.

[0016] A reduction catalyst according to the present embodiment includes: a charge collector having a metal layer on a surface; and a modified organic molecule containing a reactive functional group, a long chain alkyl group, and a quaternary nitrogen cation, wherein the quaternary nitrogen cation is one of alkylammonium cation, pyridinium cation, piperidinium cation, and imidazolium cation, wherein the modified organic molecule is chemically bound to a surface of the metal layer by the reactive functional group, wherein the reactive functional group is formed at one end of the long chain alkyl group, and the quaternary nitrogen cation is formed at the other end of the long chain alkyl group.

Brief Description of Drawings



[0017] 

FIG. 1 is a view showing a configuration of a CO2 reduction catalyst according to an embodiment.

FIG. 2 is a view showing in detail an example of the configuration of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the embodiment.

FIG. 3 is a view showing a variation 1 of the configuration of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the embodiment.

FIG. 4 is a view showing a variation 2 of the configuration of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the embodiment.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view showing a structure of a photochemical reaction cell according to the embodiment.

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view showing an example of an operating principle of the photochemical reaction cell according to the embodiment.

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view showing another example of the operating principle of the photochemical reaction cell according to the embodiment.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view showing a configuration of a photochemical reactor according to the embodiment.

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view showing the configuration of the photochemical reactor according to the embodiment.

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view showing a configuration of a variation 1 of the photochemical reactor according to the embodiment.

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view showing a configuration of a variation 2 of the photochemical reactor according to the embodiment.

FIG. 12 is a view showing a photochemical reactor and an electrolytic apparatus according to the embodiment.

FIG. 13 is a view showing Examples 1 to 11 of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the embodiment, Comparative Example 1, and evaluation of the CO2 reduction performances of them.

FIG. 14 is a view showing Examples 12 to 17 of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the embodiment and evaluation of the CO2 reduction performances of them.

FIG. 15 is a view showing Examples 18 to 30 of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the embodiment, Comparative Examples 1 to 12, and evaluation of the CO2 reduction performances of them.

FIG. 16 is a view showing Examples 31 to 33 of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the embodiment, Comparative Examples 1, 13, and 14, and evaluation of the CO2 reduction performances of them.

FIG. 17 is a view showing Examples 34 to 39 of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the embodiment, Comparative Example 14, and evaluation of the CO2 reduction performances of them.

FIG. 18 is a view showing Example 40 of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the embodiment, Comparative Example 15, and evaluation of the CO2 reduction performances of them.

FIG. 19 is a view showing Examples 41 to 46 of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the embodiment and evaluation of the CO2 reduction performances of them.

FIG. 20 is a view showing Examples 47 to 52 of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the embodiment, Comparative Example 14, and evaluation of the CO2 reduction performances of them.


Description of Embodiments



[0018] An embodiment will be hereinafter described with reference to the drawings. In the drawings, the same components as those in the drawings are assigned the same reference numerals. Overlapping descriptions will be made, if needed.

1. CO2 reduction catalyst



[0019] A CO2 reduction catalyst according to the present embodiment will be described using FIGS. 1 to 4. In this embodiment, metal fine particles 107 are fixed onto a surface (a surface layer 102) of a charge collector 101 through an organic molecular layer 106, and modified organic molecules 112 are formed on the metal fine particle 107. Then, reduction reaction of CO2 is carried out in the metal fine particle 107. Consequently, the CO2 reduction reaction with a high reaction efficiency can be achieved. Hereinafter, this embodiment will be described in detail.

[Configuration]



[0020] FIG. 1 is a view showing a configuration of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the present embodiment. FIG. 2 is a view showing in detail an example of the configuration of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to this embodiment.

[0021] As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the CO2 reduction catalyst according to this embodiment is a part of an electrode which reduces CO2 electrochemically and is provided with a laminate constituted of the charge collector 101, the organic molecular layer 106, the metal fine particles 107, and the modified organic molecules 112. The metal fine particles 107 are connected to the charge collector 101 through the organic molecular layer 106, and the modified organic molecules 112 for promoting the CO2 reduction reaction are bound to a surface of the metal fine particle 107.

[0022] Although the charge collector 101 is a stainless steel substrate, for example, the charge collector is not limited as long as it has electrical conductivity, and can be suitably selected taking cost, processability, and so on into consideration. The surface layer 102 constituted of a metal layer or an oxide layer is formed on a surface of the charge collector 101. If the surface layer 102 is constituted of a metal layer, the surface layer 102 is constituted of a metal layer containing at least one element selected from the group consisting of Au, Ag, Cu, Pt, Zn, Fe, Ti, Sn, In, Bi, and Ni. Meanwhile, if the surface layer 102 is constituted of an oxide layer, the surface layer 102 is constituted of an oxide layer containing titanium oxide (TiO2), zirconium oxide (ZrO2), aluminum oxide (Al2O3), silicon oxide (SiO2), zinc oxide (ZnO), tin-doped indium oxide (ITO), or fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO). The surface layer 102 may be an oxide film layer of a stainless steel substrate surface. Further, a metal constituting the surface layer 102 may serve as the charge collector 101.

[0023] As a method of forming the surface layer 102 on the surface of the charge collector 101, existing vacuum film deposition methods such as a sputtering method, an evaporation method, and ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) method may be used.

[0024] The oxide layer is usually an insulator, except for transparent conductive films such as ITO and FTO. In order to secure conduction operating on a tunnel current, a film thickness of the oxide layer is preferably not more than 10 nm and more preferably not more than 5 nm.

[0025] The organic molecular layer 106 is chemically bound to the surface (surface layer 102) of the charge collector 101. The organic molecular layer 106 is chemically adsorbed onto the surface of the charge collector 101 and is a single layer film formed by self-organization. The organic molecular layer 106 has a function of fixing and electrically connecting the metal fine particles 107 to the charge collector 101.

[0026] The organic molecular layer 106 has a long chain alkyl group 104 and reactive functional groups 103 and 105 bound to the respective terminals of the long chain alkyl group 104.

[0027] In the long chain alkyl group 104, as the alkyl chain length increases, a more dense and aligned molecular layer can be obtained with respect to the charge collector 101. Thus, if the alkyl chain length of the long chain alkyl group 104 is increased, the fixation of the metal fine particles 107 and the durability of the organic molecular layer 106 are enhanced. Meanwhile, if the alkyl chain length of the long chain alkyl group 104 is significantly increased, resistance of tunnel current in the organic molecular layer 106 increases, and the electrode resistance increases. Accordingly, the number of carbons in the alkyl chain length of the long chain alkyl group 104 is preferably 2 to 16.

[0028] The reactive functional group 103 is formed at one terminal of the long chain alkyl group 104. The reactive functional group 103 has an affinity for the charge collector 101 and chemically reacts with the charge collector 101 to be bound thereto. Thus, the organic molecular layer 106 is fixed onto the charge collector 101. If the surface (surface layer 102) of the charge collector 101 is formed of a metal layer, the reactive functional group 103 is preferably a functional group capable of being covalently bound, such as a thiol group, a disulfide group, and a thiocyanate group. Among them, a thiol group is more preferable because it has an excellent binding force. Meanwhile, if the surface layer 102 is constituted of an oxide layer or an oxide film layer of a stainless substrate surface, the reactive functional group 103 is preferably a functional group capable of being covalently bound, such as a carboxylic acid group, a phosphonic acid group, a phosphoric ester group, or an alkoxysilyl group. Among them, a phosphoric ester group is more preferable because it has an excellent binding force.

[0029] The reactive functional group 105 is formed at the other terminal of the long chain alkyl group 104. The reactive functional group 105 has an affinity for the metal fine particle 107 and chemically reacts with the metal fine particle 107 to be bound thereto. Thus, the reactive functional group 105 fixes the metal fine particle 107 onto the surface of the organic molecular layer 106. The reactive functional group 105 is preferably a functional group capable of being covalently bound, such as a thiol group, a disulfide group, and a thiocyanate group. Among them, a thiol group is more preferable because it has an excellent binding force.

[0030] The metal fine particles 107 are chemically bound to the surface (reactive functional group 105) of the organic molecular layer 106. The metal fine particle 107 is provided with an organic molecule (reactive functional group) 108 having an electrical charge at a part of its surface and thereby charged. The electrical charge on the surface of the metal fine particle 107 generates electrostatic repulsion between the particles and can prevent the nano-particle sized fine particles from being flocculated and coarse.

[0031] The metal fine particles 107 can be fixed onto the surface of the organic molecular layer 106 by electrostatic attraction (electrostatic coupling) using the electrical charge on the surface of the metal fine particle 107 and the electrical charge of the reactive functional group 105 in the organic molecular layer 106. More specifically, if the surface of the metal fine particle 107 has a negative electrical charge of a carboxyl group, the metal fine particle 107 can be fixed by selecting an amino group or a quaternary nitrogen cation as the reactive functional group 105 in the organic molecular layer 106. On the other hand, if the surface of the metal fine particle 107 has a positive electrical charge of an amino group or a quaternary nitrogen cation, the metal fine particle 107 can be fixed by selecting a carboxyl group as the reactive functional group 105.

[0032] As the electrical charge of the surface of the metal fine particle 107, the electrical charge operating on the organic molecule 108 resulting from a process for producing the metal fine particles 107 or the electrical charge operating on the organic molecule 108 resulting from a processing after production can be imparted. For example, if a reducing agent such as citric acid is used when the metal fine particle 107 is precipitated by reduction from a liquid layer, citric acid is given to the surface of the metal fine particle 107, and the surface of the metal fine particle 107 is negatively charged. Then, when a molecule having an amino group is electrostatically coupled to the surface of the negatively charged metal fine particle 107, the surface of the metal fine particle 107 is positively charged. Meanwhile, even if an amine molecule having a covalently binding reactive group such as thiol is reacted with the surface of the metal fine particle 107, the surface of the metal fine particle 107 is positively charged. Namely, the amine molecule having a covalently binding reactive group such as thiol can be used regardless of presence or absence of the charge of the surface of the metal fine particle 107 and the positive and negative of the charge.

[0033] The metal fine particle 107 is a catalyst for activating the CO2 reduction reaction and is metal containing at least one element selected from the group consisting of Au, Ag, Cu, Pt, Zn, Fe, Ti, Sn, In, Bi, and Ni. As the metal fine particle 107, commercially available metals may be suitably selected, and among them, Au or Ag having high catalytic activity is preferably selected.

[0034] If the metal fine particle 107 is a nano-fine particle, it has high catalytic activity. Thus, an average particle diameter of the metal fine particles 107 is preferably not more than 300 nm, for example. This is because if the average particle diameter of the metal fine particles 107 is more than 300 nm, the activity efficiency of the metal fine particles 107 is significantly lowered.

[0035] The average particle diameter of the metal fine particles 107 is preferably not less than 1 nm and not more than 150 nm. The upper limit is determined considering the above-described activity. Meanwhile, the lower limit is determined considering a difficulty in a fine particle production process. Namely, if the average particle diameter of the metal fine particles 107 is less than 0.5 nm, it is difficult to control the fine particle production process, and the fine particle production cost becomes high.

[0036] As the metal fine particles 107, fine particles having an average particle diameter of not more than 50 nm may be used alone, or an aggregate of primary particles (secondary particles) comprising these fine particles may be used.

[0037] As a method of calculating the average particle diameter of the metal fine particles 107, the average particle diameter can be calculated by particle size distribution measurement using a dynamic light scattering method. The dynamic light scattering method is a method of applying a laser beam to a solution dispersed with the metal fine particles 107, detecting any fluctuation of scattered light reflecting a diffusion coefficient, and thereby measuring a particle diameter using the Stokes-Einstein equation. In a frequency distribution in which an appearance ratio for each particle diameter is obtained, the largest particle diameter or a local maximum value of distribution is a mode diameter, and this is used as the average particle diameter.

[0038] The modified organic molecule 112 is chemically bound to the surface of the metal fine particle 107. The modified organic molecule 112 has a reactive functional group 109, a long chain alkyl group 110, and a quaternary nitrogen cation 111.

[0039] The reactive functional group 109 is formed at one terminal of the long chain alkyl group 110. The reactive functional group 109 has an affinity for the metal fine particle 107 and is chemically reacted with the metal fine particle 107 to be bound thereto. Thus, the reactive functional group 109 fixes the modified organic molecule 112 onto the surface of the metal fine particle 107. The reactive functional group 109 is preferably a functional group capable of being covalently bound, such as a thiol group, a disulfide group, and a thiocyanate group. Among them, a thiol group is more preferable because it has an excellent binding force.

[0040] The quaternary nitrogen cation 111 is formed at the other terminal of the long chain alkyl group 110. The quaternary nitrogen cation 111 has a function of promoting the CO2 reduction reaction operating on the metal fine particle 107.

[0041] In the elementary reaction of the CO2 reduction reaction, CO2 becomes a CO2 radical anion according to a reduction reaction of one electron. This reaction requires a large overvoltage. This overvoltage represents a loss of energy and causes lowering of an energy conversion efficiency. Further, reduction reactions of water and a hydrogen ion occur as side reactions together with the CO2 reduction reaction to generate hydrogen. This side reaction lowers a Faraday efficiency of the CO2 reduction reaction.

[0042] Meanwhile, the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 of the surface of the metal fine particle 107 forms a reaction intermediate with CO2. Thus, the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 has an effect of contributing to generation and stabilization of a CO2 radical anion and can cause the CO2 reduction reaction with low energy consumption. Consequently, the energy conversion efficiency can be increased. Since the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 is fixed to the surface of the metal fine particle 107, it has an effect of preventing water and a hydrogen ion from approaching the metal fine particle 107. Namely, the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 can impart reaction selectivity to the metal fine particle 107. Thus, generation of hydrogen due to a side reaction is reduced, and the Faraday efficiency can be increased.

[0043] In the metal fine particle 107 having the quaternary nitrogen cation 111, a reduction product is changed by an interaction between the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 and the metal fine particle 107 and CO2. Specifically, CO2 is converted into carbon monoxide (CO), formic acid (HCOOH), formaldehyde (HCHO), and methanol (CH3OH). Further, CO2 may be converted into acetic acid (CH3COOH), acetaldehyde (CH3CHO), and ethanol (CH3CH2OH).

[0044] The quaternary nitrogen cation 111 is an alkylammonium cation, imidazolium cation, pyridinium cation, piperidinium cation, or pyrrolidinium cation. Among them, imidazolium cation is preferable because it is excellent in enhancement of CO2 reduction activity.

[0045] In a structure of the modified organic molecule 112, the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 and the reactive functional group 109 bound to the surface of the metal fine particle 107 are bound through the long chain alkyl group 110 to each other. As the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 and the reactive functional group 109 are bound through the long chain alkyl group 110, when the alkyl chain length is increased, the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 is less likely to take part in the CO2 reaction reduction of the metal fine particle 107. Accordingly, the number of carbons in the alkyl chain length of the long chain alkyl group 110 is preferably 2 to 16.

[0046] Examples of the organic molecules constituting the organic molecular layer 106 and the modified organic molecule 112 include 15-carboxy-1- pentadecanethiol, 10-carboxy-1-decanethiol, 7-carboxy-1-heptanethiol, 5-carboxy-1-pentathiol, 3-carboxy-1-propanethiol, mercaptoacetic acid, 10-carboxydecyl-disulfide, 7-carboxyheptyl-disulfide, 5-carboxypentyl-disulfide, 4-4'-dithiodibutanoic acid, 16-amino-1-hexadecanethiol, 16-amino-1-hexadecanethiol, 11-amino-1-undecanethiol, 8-amino-1-octanethiol, 6-amino-1-hexanethiol, 11-mercaptoundecane-1-trimethylammoniumchloride, 11-mercaptoundecane-1-sodium sulphonate, 11-mercaptoundecane-1-phosphonic acid, 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, 1-(3-mercaptoproply)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, 1-(5-mercaptopentyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, 1-(8-mercaptooctyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, 1-(9-mercaptononyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, 1-(10-mercaptodecyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, 1-(11-mercaptoundecyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, 1-(12-mercaptododecyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-3-ethylimidazolium bromide, 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-2,3-dimethylimidazolium bromide, 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide, 1-(3-mercaptoproply)-4-methylpyridinium bromide, 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide, 1-(5-mercaptopentyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide, 1-(6-mercaptopentyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide, 1-(8-mercaptooctyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide, 1-(9-mercaptononyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide, 1-(10-mercaptodecyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide, 1-(11-mercaptoundecyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide, 1-(12-mercaptododecyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide, 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)pyridinium bromide, 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-1-methylpyrrolidinium bromide, 1-(3-mercaptoproply)-1-methylpyrrolidinium bromide, 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-1-methylpyrrolidinium bromide, 1-(5-mercaptopentyl)-1-methylpyrrolidinium bromide, 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-1-methylpyrrolidinium bromide, 1-(8-mercaptooctyl)-1-methylpyrrolidinium bromide, 1-(9-mercaptononyl)-1-methylpyrrolidinium bromide, 1-(10-mercaptodecyl)-1-methylpyrrolidinium bromide, 1-(11-mercaptoundecyl)-1-methylpyrrolidinium bromide, 1-(12-mercaptododecyl)-1-methylpyrrolidinium bromide, 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-1-methylpiperidinium bromide, 1-(3-mercaptoproply)-1-methylpiperidinium bromide, 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-1-methylpiperidinium bromide, 1-(5-mercaptopentyl)-1-methylpiperidinium bromide, 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-1-methylpiperidinium bromide, 1-(8-mercaptooctyl)-1-methylpiperidinium bromide, 1-(9-mercaptononyl)-1-methylpiperidinium bromide, 1-(10-mercaptodecyl)-1-methylpiperidinium bromide, 1-(11-mercaptoundecyl)-1-methylpiperidinium bromide, 1-(12-mercaptododecyl)-1-methylpiperidinium bromide, 1,2-ethane dithiol, 1,3-propane dithiol, 1,4-butane dithiol, 1,5-pentane dithiol, 1,6-hexane dithiol, 1,7-heptane dithiol, 1,8-octane dithiol, 1,9-nonane dithiol, 1,10-decane dithiol, 1,11-undecane dithiol, 1,12-dodecane dithiol, 1,13-tridecane dithiol, 1,14-tetradecane dithiol, 1,15-pentadecane dithiol, and 1,16-hexadecane dithiol.

[0047] However, amine may form a salt such as hydrofluoric acid, hydrochloric acid, oxalic acid, folic acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, and phosphoric acid. A counter anion of a quaternary nitrogen cation such as an alkylammonium salt, imidazolium salt, pyridinium salt, pyrrolidinium salt, and piperidinium salt may be a fluoride ion, a chloride ion, a bromide ion, an iodide ion, HCO3-, BF4-, PF6-, CF3COO-, CF3SO3-, NO3-, SCN-, N(CN)2-, C(CN)3-(CF3SO2)3C-, bis(trifluoromethoxysulfonyl)imide anion, or bis(perfluoroethylsulfonyl)imide anion.

[Production Process]



[0048] As a method of forming the organic molecular layer 106 on the surface (surface layer 102) of the charge collector 101, a known method may be used. For example, there are exemplified a method of bringing the charge collector 101 into contact with a solution dissolved with organic molecules having an affinity for the charge collector 101, a method of evaporating organic molecules in a high vacuum and forming a film, and a method of spraying organic molecules by a spray.

[0049] In the method of bringing the charge collector 101 into contact with a solution dissolved with organic molecules, the organic molecules chemically adsorbed to the charge collector 101 spontaneously form an aggregate by a van der Waals force and hydrophobic interaction between adsorbed molecules. The adsorbed molecules are aggregated densely, whereby an aligned monomolecular layer (Self-Assembled Monolayer: SAM) is formed.

[0050] A solvent dissolving organic molecules is not limited as long as it can dissolve the organic molecules. Examples of the solvent dissolving organic molecules include alcohols, such as ethanol, and aromatic or aliphatic organic solvents such as toluene and hexane. Ethanol is preferably used for reasons of the solubility of organic molecules and ease of handling.

[0051] An example of a method of forming the organic molecular layer 106 on the surface (surface layer 102) of the charge collector 101 will be hereinafter described in detail.

[0052] An ethanol solution dissolved with organic molecules is provided, and the charge collector 101 formed with the surface layer 102 is immersed for from several minutes to several hours. Consequently, the organic molecular layer 106 is formed on the surface of the charge collector 101. Since the conditions such as the concentration of the organic molecules, the immersion time, and an immersion temperature influence a formation state of a monomolecular layer, they may be suitably changed according to the structure of the organic molecule and so on.

[0053] For example, concerning the concentration, if the concentration of the organic molecules is low, it takes time to form a monomolecular layer. Meanwhile, if the concentration of the organic molecules is too high, excess molecules may be stacked and adsorbed on the monomolecular layer. Thus, the concentration of the organic molecules is preferably not more than 0.1 mM and not more than 100 mM and more preferably not less than 1 mM and not more than 10 mM. Concerning the immersion time, although the adsorption of the organic molecules is completed within several minutes, a longer time is required for formation of a more dense and aligned monomolecular layer. Thus, the immersion time is preferably not less than 1 minute and not more than 100 hours and more preferably not less than 12 hours and not more than 72 hours. The immersion temperature influences formation of a dense and aligned single molecule. Thus, the immersion temperature is preferably not less than room temperature and not more than 60°C considering the vapor pressure and boiling point of a solvent and so on.

[0054] As a method of confirming the formation of the organic molecular layer 106, known methods may be used.

[0055] For example, as an electrochemical method, evaluation is performed by a cyclic voltammetry method. More specifically, in a 0.2 M potassium chloride (KCl) aqueous solution dissolved with potassium hexacyanoferrate (III) (K3[Fe(CN)6]) of 1 mM or hexaammineruthenium (III) chloride ([Ru(NH3)6]Cl3) of 1 mM, an electrochemical response of the charge collector 101 before and after a process of adsorbing the organic molecular layer 106 is measured and compared. Consequently, reduction in a reaction current due to an electrochemical oxidation-reduction reaction of hexacyanoferrate (III) anion and hexaammineruthenium (III) cation can be observed by the formation of the organic molecular layer 106. This is caused by the fact that the formation of the organic molecular layer 106 on the charge collector 101 inhibits the oxidation-reduction reaction of hexacyanoferrate (III) anion and hexaammineruthenium (III) cation. According to this constitution, the formation of the organic molecular layer 106 can be confirmed indirectly.

[0056] Evaluation can be performed by using a Fourier transform infrared spectrophotometer (FT-IR) using a reflection method as a surface analysis method. Consequently, an infrared spectrum of a thin film and molecular adsorption species on the surface of the charge collector 101 can be measured with high sensitivity. Namely, a structure of an organic molecule, in particular information on a functional group can be known. If an X-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS) is used, when the organic molecular layer 106 and the modified organic molecule 112 are provided with anions, the composition of anions can be measured. If a contact angle meter is used, presence and absence of the organic molecular layer 106 can be measured from differences in water wettability.

[0057] As a method of fixing the metal fine particle 107 onto the surface of the organic molecular layer 106, known methods may be used. For example, when the charge collector 101 formed with the organic molecular layer 106 is immersed in a solution dispersed with the particles of the metal fine particle 107, the reactive functional group 105 of the organic molecular layer 106 and the surface (organic molecule 108) of the metal fine particle 107 are reacted with each other and fixed.

[0058] A solution dispersed with the metal fine particles 107 is not limited as long as the metal fine particles 107 are stably dispersed. Examples of the solution dispersed with the metal fine particles 107 include water, ethanol, and toluene. Water or ethanol is preferably used for reasons of ease of handling.

[0059] An example of a method of fixing the metal fine particles 107 onto the surface of the organic molecular layer 106 will be hereinafter described in detail. An aqueous solution dispersed with the metal fine particles 107 is provided, and the charge collector 101 formed with the organic molecular layer 106 is immersed for several hours. Consequently, the metal fine particles 107 can be fixed onto the surface of the organic molecular layer 106. Since the conditions such as the concentration of the solution dispersed with the metal fine particles 107, the immersion time, an immersion temperature, and so on depend on a method of synthesizing the metal fine particles 107 and stability, they may be suitably changed for each dispersion solution.

[0060] For example, concerning the concentration, if the concentration of the metal fine particles 107 is low, it takes time to fix the metal fine particles 107. Meanwhile, if the concentration of the metal fine particles 107 is too high, the metal fine particles 107 are flocculated and may not be fixed to the organic molecular layer 106. Further, concerning the immersion time, the longer immersion time allows more satisfactory fixation of the metal fine particles 107. Thus, the immersion time is preferably not less than 1 hour and not more than 50 hours and more preferably not less than 5 hours and not more than 24 hours. If the immersion temperature is increased, dispersion stability of the metal fine particles 107 may be lowered, so that the metal fine particles 107 may be flocculated. If the metal fine particles 107 are flocculated, it is difficult to evenly fix the metal fine particles 107 to the surface of the organic molecular layer 106. Thus, the immersion temperature is preferably not less than room temperature and not more than 35°C.

[0061] As a method of confirming the fixing of the metal fine particle 107 on the surface of the organic molecular layer 106, known methods may be used.

[0062] For example, as an electrochemical method, evaluation is performed by a cyclic voltammetry method. More specifically, in a 0.2 M potassium chloride (KCl) aqueous solution dissolved with potassium hexacyanoferrate (III) (K3[Fe(CN)6]) of 1 mM or hexaammineruthenium (III) chloride ([Ru(NH3)6]Cl3) of 1 mM, an electrochemical response of the charge collector 101 before and after a process of fixing the metal fine particles 107 is measured and compared. Consequently, an increase in reaction current due to an electrochemical oxidation-reduction reaction of hexacyanoferrate (III) anion and hexaammineruthenium (III) cation can be observed by the fixing of the metal fine particles 107. This is caused by the fact that the fixing of the metal fine particles 107 onto the organic molecular layer 106 causes the oxidation-reduction reaction of hexacyanoferrate (III) anion and hexaammineruthenium (III) cation. According to this constitution, the fixing of the metal fine particles 107 can be confirmed indirectly.

[0063] As a surface analysis method, direct observation can be performed with a scanning electron microscope (SEM), a transmission electron microscope (TEM), an atomic force microscope (AFM), or a scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM). A metal composition can be evaluated by an energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX), an electron beam microanalyzer (EPMA), or X-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS).

[0064] As a method of modifying the modified organic molecule 112 containing the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 onto the surface of the metal fine particle 107, known methods may be used. For example, the surface of the metal fine particle 107 and the modified organic molecule 112 are reacted by bringing the metal fine particle 107 into contact with a solution dissolved with the modified organic molecule 112 having an affinity for the metal fine particle 107.

[0065] A solvent dissolving the modified organic molecules 112 is not limited as long as it can dissolve modified organic molecules. Examples of the solvent dissolving the modified organic molecules 112 include alcohols, such as ethanol, and aromatic or aliphatic organic solvents such as toluene and hexane. Ethanol is preferably used for reasons of the solubility of the modified organic molecules 112 and ease of handling.

[0066] An example of a method of modifying the modified organic molecule 112 containing the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 on the surface of the metal fine particle 107 will be hereinafter described in detail. An ethanol solution dissolved with the modified organic molecules 112 is provided, and the metal fine particles 107 are immersed for from several minutes to several hours. Consequently, a modified molecular layer 112 can be formed on the surface of the metal fine particle 107. Since the conditions such as the concentration of the modified organic molecules 112, the immersion time, and an immersion temperature influence a formation state of the modified organic molecular layer 112, they may be suitably changed according to the structure of the modified organic molecule 112 and so on.

[0067] For example, concerning the concentration, if the concentration of the modified organic molecules 112 is low, it takes time to form the modified organic molecule 112. Meanwhile, if the concentration of the modified organic molecules 112 is too high, excess molecules may be stacked and adsorbed on the modified organic molecule 112. Thus, the concentration of the modified organic molecules 112 is preferably not more than 0.1 mM and not more than 100 mM and more preferably not less than 1 mM and not more than 10 mM. Concerning the immersion time, although the adsorption of the modified organic molecules 112 is completed in a few minutes, a longer time is required for formation of more dense and aligned modified organic molecules 112. Thus, the immersion time is preferably not less than 1 minute and not more than 100 hours and more preferably not less than 12 hours and not more than 72 hours. The immersion temperature influences formation of dense and aligned modified organic molecules 112. Thus, the immersion temperature is preferably not less than room temperature and not more than 60°C considering the vapor pressure and boiling point of a solvent and so on.

[0068] The metal fine particle 107 may be stacked on the modified organic molecule 112. When the metal fine particle 107 is further stacked, the process of fixing the metal fine particle 107 and the process of forming the modified organic molecule 112 are repeated, whereby the amount of the modified organic molecules 107 can be increased.

[0069] An example of the method of stacking the metal fine particle 107 and the modified organic molecule 112 will be hereinafter described in detail.

[0070] The modified organic molecule 112 has a positive charge of the quaternary nitrogen cation 111. Thus, if the modified organic molecule 112 is in contact with an aqueous solution dissolved with an anion containing an element constituting the metal fine particle 107, the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 and the anion containing an element constituting the metal fine particle 107 are electrostatically coupled by an anion exchange reaction. When electrochemical reduction or reduction by hydrogen gas is performed in an aqueous solution, a metal nanoparticle as the metal fine particle 107 can be carried on the surface of the quaternary nitrogen cation 111.

[0071] Examples of the metal fine particle 107 which can be precipitated near the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 include Au and Pt. As a raw material of an anion containing Au or Pt, there are exemplified salts such as tetrachloro-gold (III) acid sodium dihydrate (Na[AuCl4)2H2O), gold chloride (III) acid potassium (K[AuCl4]), tetrachloro platinic acid (II) potassium (K2[PtCl4] and hexachloro platinic acid (IV) potassium (K2[PtCl6]).

[0072] More specifically, in a method of carrying the metal fine particle 107 by utilizing the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 contained in the modified organic molecule 112, a substrate provided with the metal fine particle 107 modified with the modified organic molecule 112 is immersed in a solution dissolved with an anion containing Au or Pt, and anion exchange is performed. The anion exchange is performed so that in an aqueous solution in which the concentration of salt constituted of anions containing Au or Pt is not less than 0.1 mM and not more than 100 mM, an anion exchange time is not less than 30 minutes and not more than 2 hours. Consequently, the anion containing Au or Pt is electrostatically coupled to the quaternary nitrogen cation 111.

[0073] After that, this substrate is immersed in an alkaline aqueous solution and electrochemically reduced, or the substrate is immersed in an aqueous solution dissolved with H2 gas and reduced. If the substrate is electrochemically reduced, constant potential reduction electrolysis is performed in a sodium hydrogen carbonate aqueous solution having a concentration of 0.5 M. As the electrolysis conditions, in a three-electrode type cell in which a substrate is a working electrode, a reference electrode is a silver-silver chloride electrode, a counter electrode is Pt, and a potential of -0.5 V is applied to the working electrode for approximately one hour. Meanwhile, if the substrate is immersed in an aqueous solution dissolved with H2 gas and reduced, the substrate may be immersed for approximately one hour. Consequently, the metal fine particle 107 can be formed on the surface of the quaternary nitrogen cation 111.

[0074] After that, the modified organic molecule 112 containing the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 can be further modified on a surface of an Au or Pt nanoparticle (metal fine particle 111) precipitated near the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 by the above method.

[0075] In this way, when the metal fine particle 107 is further stacked, the amount of the metal fine particles 107 can be increased by repeating the process of precipitating the metal fine particle 107 near the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 and the process of binding the modified organic molecule 112.

[Effect]



[0076] In the present embodiment, the metal fine particle 107 is fixed onto the surface (surface layer 102) of the charge collector 101 through the organic molecular layer 106, and the modified organic molecule 112 is formed on the surface of the metal fine particle 107. Then, the CO2 reduction reaction is performed in the metal fine particle 107. Consequently, the following effects can be obtained.

[0077] The formation of the metal fine particle 107 can make a reactive area (surface area) larger than that of a plate-shaped metal layer. Consequently, the CO2 reduction reaction efficiency can be increased. Further, the modified organic molecule 112 contributes to enhancement of the CO2 reduction activity. In other words, the modified organic molecule 112 can selectively advance the CO2 reduction reaction with low energy with respect to the CO2 reduction reaction. Thus, the formation of the modified organic molecule 112 can further increase the CO2 reduction reaction efficiency.

[Variation 1]



[0078] FIG. 3 is a view showing a variation 1 of a configuration of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the present embodiment.

[0079] As shown in FIG. 3, a CO2 reduction catalyst according to the variation 1 is provided with a laminate constituted of a charge collector 101, an organic molecular layer 106, and a metal fine particle 107. Namely, the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the variation 1 is different from the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the above-described present embodiment in that the modified organic molecule 112 for promoting the CO2 reduction reaction is not formed. Hereinafter, the variation 1 will be detailed.

[0080] In the charge collector 101, a surface layer 102 constituted of a metal layer or an oxide layer is formed on a surface of the charge collector 101. If the surface layer 102 is constituted of a metal layer, the surface layer 102 is constituted of a metal layer containing at least one element selected from the group consisting of Au, Ag, Cu, Pt, Zn, Fe, Ti, Sn, In, Bi, and Ni. Meanwhile, if the surface layer 102 is constituted of an oxide layer, the surface layer 102 is constituted of an oxide layer containing titanium oxide (TiO2), zirconium oxide (ZrO2), aluminum oxide (Al2O3), silicon oxide (SiO2), zinc oxide (ZnO), tin-doped indium oxide (ITO), or fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO).

[0081] The organic molecular layer 106 is chemically bound to the surface (surface layer 102) of the charge collector 101. The organic molecular layer 106 is chemically adsorbed onto the surface of the charge collector 101 and is a single layer film formed by self-organization. The organic molecular layer 106 has a function of fixing and electrically connecting the metal fine particles 107 to the charge collector 101. The organic molecular layer 106 has a long chain alkyl group 104 and reactive functional groups 103 and 105 bound to the respective terminals of the long chain alkyl group 104.

[0082] The metal fine particles 107 are chemically bound to the surface (reactive functional group 105) of the organic molecular layer 106. The metal fine particle 107 is provided with an organic molecule (reactive functional group) 108 having an electrical charge at a part of its surface and thereby charged. The electrical charge on the surface of the metal fine particle 107 generates electrostatic repulsion between the particles and can prevent the nano-particle sized fine particles from being flocculated and coarse. The metal fine particles 107 can be fixed onto the surface of the organic molecular layer 106 by electrostatic attraction (electrostatic coupling) using the electrical charge on the surface of the metal fine particle 107 and the electrical charge of the reactive functional group 105 in the organic molecular layer 106.

[0083] The metal fine particle 107 is a catalyst for activating the CO2 reduction reaction and is a metal containing at least one element selected from the group consisting of Au, Ag, Cu, Pt, Zn, Fe, Ti, Sn, In, Bi, and Ni. As the metal fine particle 107, commercially available metals may be suitably selected, and among them, Au or Ag having high catalytic activity is preferably selected.

[Variation 2]



[0084] FIG. 4 is a view showing a variation 2 of a configuration of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the present embodiment.

[0085] As shown in FIG. 4, a CO2 reduction catalyst according to the variation 2 is provided with a laminate constituted of a charge collector 101 and modified organic molecules 112. Namely, the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the variation 2 is different from the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the above-described present embodiment in that the organic molecular layer 106 and the metal fine particle 107 are not formed. Hereinafter, the variation 2 will be detailed.

[0086] A surface layer 102 constituted of a metal layer is formed on a surface of the charge collector 101. The surface layer 102 is constituted of a metal layer containing at least one element selected from the group consisting of Au, Ag, Cu, Zn, and Pt. The metal layer constituting the surface layer 102 corresponds to metal fine particles and is a catalyst for activating the CO2 reduction reaction. Namely, the surface layer 102 constituted of metal fine particles has the same functions as those of the metal fine particle 107 in the above embodiment.

[0087] The surface layer 102 (metal fine particle) is provided with an organic molecule having an electrical charge at a part of its surface and thereby charged. The electrical charge on the surface of the metal fine particle generates electrostatic repulsion between the particles and can prevent the nano-particle sized fine particles from being flocculated and coarse.

[0088] If a metal fine particle is a nano-fine particle, it has high catalytic activity efficiency. Thus, an average particle diameter of the metal fine particles is preferably not more than 300 nm, for example. This is because if the average particle diameter of the metal fine particles is more than 300 nm, the activity efficiency of the metal fine particles is significantly lowered. The average particle diameter of the metal fine particles is preferably not less than 1 nm and not more than 150 nm. The upper limit is determined considering the above activity efficiency. Meanwhile, the lower limit is determined considering the difficulty in a fine particle production process.

[0089] As the metal fine particles, fine particles having an average particle diameter of not more than 50 nm may be used alone, or an aggregate of primary particles (secondary particles) comprising these fine particles may be used.

[0090] The modified organic molecule 112 is chemically bound to the surface of the surface layer 102. The modified organic molecule 112 has a reactive functional group 109, a long chain alkyl group 110, and a quaternary nitrogen cation 111.

[0091] The reactive functional group 109 is formed at one terminal of the long chain alkyl group 110. The reactive functional group 109 has an affinity for the surface layer 102 and chemically reacts with the surface layer 102 to be bound thereto. Thus, the reactive functional group 109 fixes the modified organic molecule 112 onto the surface of the surface layer 102. The reactive functional group 109 is preferably a functional group capable of being covalently bound, such as a thiol group, a disulfide group, and a thiocyanate group. Among them, a thiol group is more preferable because it has an excellent binding force.

[0092] The quaternary nitrogen cation 111 is formed at the other terminal of the long chain alkyl group 110. The quaternary nitrogen cation 111 has a function of promoting the CO2 reduction reaction operating on the surface layer 102 constituted of metal fine particles.

[0093] The quaternary nitrogen cation 111 is an alkylammonium cation, imidazolium cation, pyridinium cation, piperidinium cation, or pyrrolidinium cation. Among them, the imidazole cation is preferable because it is excellent in enhancement of activity of CO2 reduction.

2. Photochemical Reaction Cell



[0094] Hereinafter, a photochemical reaction cell using the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the present embodiment will be described using FIGS. 5 to 7.

[0095] FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view showing a configuration of the photochemical reaction cell according to the present embodiment.

[0096] As shown in FIG. 5, the photochemical reaction cell according to the present embodiment is provided with a laminate constituted of a substrate 11, a reflecting layer 12, a reduction electrode layer 13, a multi-junction solar cell 17, an oxidation electrode layer 18, an oxidation catalyst layer 19, and a reduction catalyst layer 20.

[0097] Although the details will be described later, the above-described CO2 reduction catalyst is applied as the reduction catalyst layer 20 in the photochemical reaction cell.

[0098] The reflecting layer 12, the reduction electrode layer 13, the multi-junction solar cell 17, the oxidation electrode layer 18, and the oxidation catalyst layer 19 are formed on a front surface of the substrate 11. Meanwhile, the reduction catalyst layer 20 is formed on a rear surface of the substrate 11.

[0099] The substrate 11 is provided for the purpose of supporting the photochemical reaction cell and increasing the mechanical strength. The substrate 11 has conductivity and is constituted of a metal plate of, for example, Au, Ag, Cu, Pt, Zn, Fe, Ti, Sn, In, Bi, or Ni or an alloy plate, such as SUS, containing at least one of them. Alternatively, the substrate 11 may be formed of a conductive resin. Meanwhile, the substrate 11 may be constituted of a semiconductor substrate such as Si or Ge. As described later, the substrate 11 may be formed of an ion exchange membrane.

[0100] The reflecting layer 12 is formed on the surface of the substrate 11. The reflecting layer 12 is formed of a light reflectable material and constituted of a distributed Bragg reflecting layer including, for example, a metal layer or a semiconductor multilayer film. When the reflecting layer 12 is formed between the substrate 11 and the multi-junction solar cell 17, light that could not be absorbed by the multi-junction solar cell 17 is reflected to be allowed to enter the multi-junction solar cell 17 again. Consequently, the light absorptivity in the multi-junction solar cell 17 can be enhanced.

[0101] The reduction electrode layer 13 is formed on the reflecting layer 12. The reduction electrode layer 13 is formed on a surface of an n-type semiconductor layer (n-type amorphous silicon layer 14a to be described later) of the multi-junction solar cell 17. Thus, the reduction electrode layer 13 is preferably formed of a material which can be in ohmic contact with an n-type semiconductor layer. The reduction electrode layer 13 is formed of metal such as Ag, Au, Al, or Cu or alloy containing at least one of the metals. Alternatively, the reduction electrode layer 13 is constituted of a transparent conductive oxide such as ITO (Indium Tin Oxide), zinc oxide (ZnO), FTO (fluorine-doped tin oxide), AZO (aluminum-doped zinc oxide), or ATO (antimony-doped tin oxide). The reduction electrode layer 13 may have a structure in which metal and a transparent conductive oxide are stacked, a structure in which metal and another type of conductive material are compounded, or a structure in which a transparent conductive oxide and another type of conductive material are compounded, for example.

[0102] The multi-junction solar cell 17 is formed on the reduction electrode layer 13 and is constituted of a first solar cell 14, a second solar cell 15, and a third solar cell 16. The first solar cell 14, the second solar cell 15, and the third solar cell 16 are solar cells each using a pin junction semiconductor and have different light absorption wavelengths. When they are stacked in a planar fashion, the multi-junction solar cell 17 can absorb wide wavelength light of solar light, and solar light energy can be used more efficiently. Since the solar cells are connected in series, a high open voltage can be obtained.

[0103] More specifically, the first solar cell 14 is constituted of an n-type amorphous silicon (a-Si) layer 14a, an intrinsic amorphous silicon germanium (a-SiGe) layer 14b, and a p-type microcrystalline silicon (µc-Si) layer 14c formed sequentially from the lower side. Here, the a-SiGe layer 14b is a layer absorbing light in a short wavelength region of approximately 400 nm. Namely, in the first solar cell 14, light energy in the short wavelength region causes charge separation.

[0104] The second solar cell 15 is constituted of an n-type a-Si layer 15a, an intrinsic a-SiGe layer 15b, and a p-type µc-Si layer 15c formed sequentially from the lower side. Here, the a-SiGe layer 15b is a layer absorbing light in an intermediate wavelength region of approximately 600 nm. Namely, in the second solar cell 15, light energy in the intermediate wavelength region causes charge separation.

[0105] The third solar cell 16 is constituted of an n-type a-Si layer 16a, an intrinsic a-Si layer 16b, and a p-type µc-Si layer 16c formed sequentially from the lower side. Here, the a-Si layer 16b is a layer absorbing light in a long wavelength region of approximately 700 nm. Namely, in the third solar cell 16, light energy in the long wavelength region causes charge separation.

[0106] As described above, in the multi-junction solar cell 17, the light in each wavelength region causes the charge separation. Namely, a hole is separated to a positive electrode side (front surface side), and an electron is separated to a negative electrode side (rear surface side). According to this constitution, the multi-junction solar cell 17 generates an electromotive force.

[0107] Although the multi-junction solar cell 17 constituted of a laminated structure of the three solar cells has been described as an example, this invention is not limited thereto. The multi-junction solar cell 17 may be constituted of a laminated structure of two or four or more solar cells. Alternatively, a solar cell may be used instead of the multi-junction solar cell 17. Although the solar cell using a pin junction semiconductor has been described, a solar cell using a pn junction semiconductor may be used instead. Although the example in which the semiconductor layer is formed of Si and Ge has been shown, the material is not limited to them, and the semiconductor layer may be formed of compound semiconductor systems such as GaAs, GaInP, AlGaInP, CdTe, and CuInGaSe. Furthermore, various forms such as a single crystal, a polycrystal, and an amorphous form can be applied.

[0108] The oxidation catalyst layer 19 is formed on the oxidation electrode layer 18. The oxidation catalyst layer 19 is formed on the positive electrode side of the multi-junction solar cell 17. In the oxidation catalyst layer, if a hydrogen ion concentration of an electrolytic solution is less than 7 (pH < 7), H2O is oxidized to produce O2 and H+. Meanwhile, if the hydrogen ion concentration of the electrolytic solution is more than 7 (pH > 7), OH- is oxidized to produce O2 and H2O. Thus, the oxidation catalyst layer 19 is formed of a material that reduces the activation energy of the oxidation reaction. In other words, the oxidation catalyst layer 19 is formed of a material which lowers the overvoltage when a reaction in which H2O or OH- is oxidized to extract electrons is carried out. Examples of such a material include binary metal oxides such as manganese oxide (Mn-O), iridium oxide (Ir-O), nickel oxide (Ni-O), cobalt oxide (Co-O), iron oxide (Fe-O), tin oxide (Sn-O), indium oxide (In-O), or ruthenium oxide (Ru-O), ternary metal oxides such as Ni-Co-O, La-Co-O, Ni-La-O, and Sr-Fe-O, quaternary metal oxides such as Pb-Ru-Ir-O and La-Sr-Co-O, and metal complexes such as an Ru complex and an Fe complex. The form of the oxidation catalyst layer 19 is not limited to a thin film form, and the oxidation catalyst layer 19 may have a lattice shape, a particle shape, or a wire shape.

[0109] In this example, as with the oxidation electrode layer 18, irradiation light passes through the oxidation catalyst layer 19 to reach the multi-junction solar cell 17. Thus, the oxidation catalyst layer 19 arranged on the light irradiation surface side has optical transparency with respect to the irradiation light. More specifically, the transparency of the oxidation catalyst layer 19 on the light irradiation surface side is at least 10% of the irradiation amount of the irradiation light and more preferably not less than 30%.

[0110] The reduction catalyst layer 20 is formed on the rear surface of the substrate 11. The reduction catalyst layer 20 is formed on the negative electrode side of the multi-junction solar cell 17 and reduces CO2 to produce a carbon compound (such as carbon monoxide, formic acid, formaldehyde, methane, methanol, acetic acid, acetaldehyde, and ethanol). Thus, the reduction catalyst layer 20 is formed of a material that reduces the activation energy for reducing CO2.

[0111] As this type of the reduction catalyst layer 20 the above-described CO2 reduction catalyst is applied. Namely, the reduction catalyst layer 20 is provided with a laminate constituted of the charge collector 101, the organic molecular layer 106, the metal fine particle 107, and the modified organic molecule 112. The metal fine particle 107 is connected to the charge collector 101 through the organic molecular layer 106, and the modified organic molecule 112 for promoting the CO2 reduction reaction is bound to the surface of the metal fine particle 107. The charge collector 101 and the substrate 11 may be the same as each other.

[0112] A protective layer may be arranged on a surface of the multi-junction solar cell 17 or between an electrode layer and a catalyst layer (in this example, between the oxidation electrode layer 18 and the oxidation catalyst layer 19) on the light irradiation surface side. The protective layer has conductivity and prevents corrosion of the multi-junction solar cell 17 in an oxidation reduction reaction. Consequently, the life of the multi-junction solar cell 17 can be extended. The protective layer has optical transparency according to need. As the protective layer, there are exemplified dielectric thin films of, for example, TiO2, ZrO2, Al2O3, SiO2, and HfO2. The film thickness of the protective layer is preferably not more than 10 nm and more preferably not more than 5 nm in order to obtain conductivity due to a tunnel effect.

[0113] FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view showing an example of an operating principle of the photochemical reaction cell according to the present embodiment. FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view showing another example of the operating principle of the photochemical reaction cell according to this embodiment. In this example, the reflecting layer 12, the reduction electrode layer 13, and the oxidation electrode layer 18 are omitted.

[0114] As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, when light enters from the front surface side, the incident light passes through the oxidation catalyst layer 19 and the oxidation electrode layer 18 to reach the multi-junction solar cell 17. The multi-junction solar cell 17 which has absorbed the light generates photoexcited electrons and holes paired therewith and separates them. Namely, in each solar cell (the first solar cell 14, the second solar cell 15, and the third solar cell 16), there occurs charge separation in which the photoexcited electrons move toward an n-type semiconductor layer (the reduction catalyst layer 20), and the holes generated as a pair with the photoexcited electrons move toward a p-type semiconductor layer (the oxidation catalyst layer 19). Consequently, the electromotive force is generated in the multi-junction solar cell 17.

[0115] As described above, the photoexcited electrons generated in the multi-junction solar cell 17 are used in a reduction reaction in the reduction catalyst layer 20, which is a negative electrode, and the holes are used in an oxidation reaction in the oxidation catalyst layer 19, which is a positive electrode. According to this constitution, as shown in FIG. 6, the reaction in formula (1) occurs near the oxidation catalyst layer 19, and the reaction in formula (2) occurs near the reduction catalyst layer 20. However, the formulae (1) and (2) refer to reactions using an acid solution in which the hydrogen ion concentration in an electrolytic solution is less than 7.

        2H2O → 4H+ + O2 + 4e-     (1)

        2CO2 + 4H+ + 4e- → 2CO + 2H2O     (2)



[0116] As shown in the formula (1), in the vicinity of the oxidation catalyst layer 19, H2O is oxidized to produce O2, H+, and electrons. H+ produced on the oxidation catalyst layer 19 side moves toward the reduction catalyst layer 20 through an ion moving path to be described later.

[0117] As shown in the formula (2), in the vicinity of the reduction catalyst layer 20, CO2 is reduced by H+ which has moved and the electrons to produce carbon monoxide (CO) and H2O.

[0118] Meanwhile, as shown in FIG. 7, when a basic solution in which the hydrogen ion concentration in an electrolytic solution is more than 7 is used, the reaction in formula (3) occurs near the oxidation catalyst layer 19, and the reaction in formula (4) occurs near the reduction catalyst layer 20.

        4OH- → O2 + 2H2O + 4e-     (3)

        2CO2 + 2H2O + 4e- → 2CO + 4OH-     (4)



[0119] As shown in the formula (4), in the vicinity of the reduction catalyst layer 20, a reduction reaction of CO2 and H2O is carried out for obtaining electrons, and carbon monoxide (CO) and OH- are produced. OH- produced on the reduction catalyst layer 20 side moves toward the oxidation catalyst layer 19 through the ion moving path to be described later.

[0120] As shown in the formula (3), in the vicinity of the oxidation catalyst layer 19, OH- is oxidized to produce O2 and H2O.

[0121] At that time, the multi-junction solar cell 17 is required to have an open voltage not less than a potential difference between a standard oxidation-reduction potential in the oxidation reaction occurring in the oxidation catalyst layer 19 and a standard oxidation-reduction potential in the oxidation reaction occurring in the reduction catalyst layer 20. For example, when the hydrogen ion concentration (pH) of a reaction solution = 0, the standard oxidation-reduction potential in the oxidation reaction in the formula (1) is +1.23 [V], and the standard oxidation-reduction potential in the oxidation reaction in the formula (2) is -0.1 [V]. Thus, the open voltage of the multi-junction solar cell 17 is required to be not less than 1.33 [V]. More preferably, the open voltage is required to be not less than a potential difference including an overvoltage. More specifically, when the overvoltage in the oxidation reaction in the formula (1) and the overvoltage in the reduction reaction in the formula (2) are each 0.2 [V], the open voltage is preferably not less than 1.73 [V].

[0122] In the reduction reaction from CO2 to CO shown in the formulae (2) and (4) and the reduction reaction from CO2 to HCOOH, HCHO, CH4, CH3OH, or C2H5OH, H+ is consumed, or OH- is produced. Thus, if H+ produced in the
oxidation catalyst layer 19 cannot move to the reduction catalyst layer 20 as the counter electrode layer, or if OH- produced in the reduction catalyst layer 20 cannot move to the oxidation catalyst layer 19 as the counter electrode, the entire reaction efficiency is low. Meanwhile, in the photochemical reactor according to the present embodiment, the ion moving path through which H+ or OH- moves is formed, whereby transportation of H+ or OH- is improved to achieve a high photoreaction efficiency.

3. Photochemical reactor



[0123] Hereinafter, a photochemical reactor using a photochemical reaction cell according to the present embodiment will be described using FIGS. 8 to 12.

[0124] FIG. 8 is a perspective view showing a structure of the photochemical reactor according to the present embodiment. FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view showing the structure of the photochemical reactor according to the embodiment. In FIG. 8, the ion moving path to be described later is omitted. Here, an example of an oxidation reduction reaction in an acid solution in which the hydrogen ion concentration of an electrolytic solution is less than 7 (the formulae (1) and (2)) is shown. In a basic solution in which the hydrogen ion concentration of an electrolytic solution is more than 7, the oxidation reduction reaction occurs in the formulae (3) and (4).

[0125] The photochemical reactor according to this embodiment is provided with a photochemical reaction cell constituted of a laminate including the oxidation catalyst layer 19, the reduction catalyst layer 20, and the multi-junction solar cell 17 formed between them and the ion moving path through which ions are moved between the oxidation catalyst layer 19 and the reduction catalyst layer 20. According to this constitution, H+ produced on the oxidation catalyst layer 19 side can be moved to the reduction catalyst layer 20 with high photoreaction efficiency, and carbon dioxide can be decomposed by this H+ on the reduction catalyst layer 20 side.

[0126] As shown in FIGS. 8 and 9, the photochemical reactor according to the present embodiment is provided with a photochemical reaction cell, an electrolytic tank 31 including the photochemical reaction cell, and an electrolytic tank flow passage 41 serving as an ion moving path and connected to the electrolytic tank 31.

[0127] The photochemical reaction cell is formed into a flat-plate shape and separates the electrolytic tank 31 into two tanks by at least the substrate 11. Namely, the electrolytic tank 31 is provided with an oxidation reaction electrolytic tank 45 in which the oxidation catalyst layer 19 of the photochemical reaction cell is arranged and a reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46 in which the reduction catalyst layer 20 of the photochemical reaction cell is arranged. Different electrolytic solutions can be supplied into the oxidation reaction electrolytic tank 45 and the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46.

[0128] The oxidation reaction electrolytic tank 45 is filled with, for example, a liquid containing H2O as an electrolytic solution. The oxidation catalyst layer 19 is immersed in this electrolytic solution. Although examples of such an electrolytic solution include an electrolytic solution containing an arbitrary electrolyte, it is preferable that an electrolytic solution promoting an oxidation reaction of H2O is used. In the oxidation reaction electrolytic tank 45, H2O is oxidized by the oxidation catalyst layer 19 to produce O2 and H+.

[0129] The reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46 is filled with, for example, a liquid containing CO2 as an electrolytic solution. The reduction catalyst layer 20 is immersed in the electrolytic solution. In the reduction catalyst layer 20, the metal fine particle 107 and a substrate (charge collector 101) are connected through the organic molecular layer 106, and the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 promoting CO2 reduction reaction is fixed onto the metal fine particle 107. The details of an electrolytic solution which has absorbed CO2 filled in the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46 will be described later. A reduction potential is applied to the metal fine particle 107. Thus, among electrolyte components, especially, ions containing CO2 (for example, a hydrogen carbonate ion) or physically dissolved CO2 are subjected to application of electrostatic attraction near a metal fine particle 107 and the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 fixed onto a surface of the metal fine particle 107. Consequently, CO2, the metal fine particle 107, and the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 form an electrical double layer at an interface of a catalyst/electrolytic solution. At this interface, a CO2 reduction reaction due to a charge-transfer reaction occurs. In the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46, CO2 is reduced by the reduction catalyst layer 20 to produce a carbon compound. In the metal fine particle 107 having the quaternary nitrogen cation 111, a reduction product is changed by an interaction between the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 and the metal fine particle 107 and CO2. Specifically, CO2 is converted into carbon monoxide (CO), formic acid (HCOOH), formaldehyde (HCHO), methanol (CH3OH), acetic acid (CH3COOH), acetaldehyde (CH3CHO), and ethanol (CH3CH2OH). Further, as a side reaction, water (H2O) is reduced, and hydrogen (H2) may be produced.

[0130] It is preferable that an electrolytic solution in the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46 has a CO2 absorbent which reduces a reduction potential of CO2, has high ion conductivity, and absorbs CO2. Examples of such an electrolytic solution include an ionic liquid, which comprises a salt of a positive ion such as an imidazolium ion or a pyridinium ion and a negative ion such as BF4- or PF6- and is in a liquid state in a wide temperature range, and an aqueous solution of the ionic liquid. In addition, examples of the electrolytic solution include an amine solution such as ethanolamine, imidazole, or pyridine and an aqueous solution thereof. Any of a primary amine, a secondary amine, or a tertiary amine may be used. A primary amine may be a methylamine, ethylamine, propylamine, butylamine, pentylamine, or hexylamine. A hydrocarbon of the amine may be substituted with an alcohol, or halogen. Examples of an amine whose hydrocarbon has been substituted include methanolamine, ethanolamine, and chloromethylamine. An unsaturated bond may exist. The substitution of hydrocarbons applies to a secondary amine and a tertiary amine as well. Examples of a secondary amine include a dimethylamine, diethylamine, dipropylamine, dipentylamine, dihexylamine, dimethanolamine, diethanolamine, and dipropanolamine. Substituted hydrocarbons may be different. This also applies to a tertiary amine. Examples of amines with different hydrocarbons include methylethylamine and methylpropylamine. A tertiary amine may be a trimethylamine, triethylamine, tripropylamine, tributylamine, trihexylamine, trimethanolamine, triethanolamine, tripropanolamine, tributanolamine, tripropanolamine, trihexanolamine, methyldiethylamine, or methyldipropylamine. A cation in an ionic liquid may be a 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium ion, 1-methyl-3-propylimidazolium ion, 1-butyl-3-methylimidazole ion, 1-methyl-3-pentylimidazolium ion, or 1-hexyl-3-methylimidazolium ion. Position 2 of an imidazolium ion may be substituted. For example, such an imidazolium ion may be a
1-ethyl-2,3-dimethylimidazolium ion, 1,2-dimethyl-3-propylimidazolium ion, 1-butyl-2,3-dimethylimidazolium ion, 1,2-dimethyl-3-pentylimidazolium ion, or 1-hexyl-2,3-dimethylimidazolium ion. A pyridinium ion may be methylpyridinium, ethylpyridinium, propylpyridinium, butylpyridinium, pentylpyridinium, or hexylpyridinium. For both imidazolium ion and pyridinium ion, an alkyl group may be substituted and an unsaturated bond may exist. As an anion, there are e.g. a fluoride ion, chloride ion, bromide ion, iodide ion, BF4-, PF6-, CF3COO-, CF3SO3-, NO3-, SCN-, (CF3SO2)3C-, bis(trifluoromethoxysulfonyl)imide, and bis(perfluoroethylsulfonyl)imide. A dipolar ion made by binding a cation and an anion in an ionic liquid with a hydrocarbon may be used as well.

[0131] In the metal fine particle 107 having the quaternary nitrogen cation 111, the reduction reaction advances by an interaction between the quaternary nitrogen cation 111 and the metal fine particle 107 and carbon dioxide. If a two-electron reduction reaction of carbon dioxide occurs, formic acid is produced in addition to carbon monoxide. When a two-electron reduction reaction of formic acid occurs, formaldehyde is produced. Further, when a two-electron reduction reaction of formaldehyde occurs, methanol is produced. When methanol is produced by the metal fine particle 107 having the quaternary nitrogen cation 111, formic acid or formaldehyde may be selected as a reactant in addition to carbon dioxide. Thus, it is preferable that an electrolytic solution in the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46 has absorbed at least one reactant selected from the group consisting of carbon dioxide, formic acid, and formaldehyde. Examples of the electrolytic solution in the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46 include a sodium hydrogen carbonate solution.

[0132] When an eight-electron reduction reaction of carbon dioxide occurs, acetic acid may be produced. When an eight-electron reduction reaction of acetic acid occurs, acetaldehyde may be produced. Further, when an eight-electron reduction reaction of acetaldehyde occurs, ethanol is produced. When ethanol is produced by the metal fine particle 107 having the quaternary nitrogen cation 111, acetic acid or acetaldehyde may be selected as a reactant in addition to carbon dioxide. Thus, the electrolytic solution in the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46 may have absorbed at least one reactant selected from carbon dioxide, acetic acid, and acetaldehyde.

[0133] The above-described reaction in which carbon dioxide is reduced to produce formic acid, formaldehyde, and methanol and the reaction in which carbon dioxide is reduced to produce acetic acid, acetaldehyde, and ethanol depend on the density of the modified organic molecule 112. Although the details will be described later in the Examples, for example, when the density of the modified organic molecule 112 is not more than 1 × 1011 atoms/cm2, the reaction in which formic acid, formaldehyde, and methanol are mainly produced occurs. Meanwhile, for example, when the density of the modified organic molecule 112 is not more than 1 × 1012 to 1015 atoms/cm2, the reaction in which acetic acid, acetaldehyde, and ethanol are produced in addition to formic acid, formaldehyde, and methanol occurs. In particular, when the density of the modified organic molecule 112 is 1 × 1013 to 1015 atoms/cm2, the reaction in which acetic acid, acetaldehyde, and ethanol are mainly produced occurs. The relationships between the molecular density of an organic molecule and products have been found as a result of experimental studies made by the present inventors, as shown in the Examples to be described later.

[0134] The temperatures of the electrolytic solutions filled in the oxidation reaction electrolytic tank 45 and the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46 may be the same or different according to the use environment. For example, if the electrolytic solution used in the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46 is an amine absorption solution containing CO2 discharged from a factory, the temperature of the electrolytic solution is higher than the ambient temperature. In this case, the temperature of the electrolytic solution is not less than 30°C and not more than 150°C and more preferably not less than 40°C and not more than 120°C.

[0135] The electrolytic tank flow passages 41 are provided lateral to the electrolytic tank 31, for example. One of the electrolytic tank flow passage 41 is connected to the oxidation reaction electrolytic tank 45, and the other is connected to the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46. Namely, the electrolytic tank flow passage 41 connects the oxidation reaction electrolytic tank 45 and the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46.

[0136] An ion exchange membrane 43 is filled in a portion of the electrolytic tank flow passage 41 and allows only a specific ion to pass through the electrolytic tank flow passage 41. According to this constitution, only the specific ion can be moved through the electrolytic tank flow passage 41 provided with the ion exchange membrane 43 while an electrolytic solution is separated between the oxidation reaction electrolytic tank 45 and the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46. Namely, the photochemical reactor has a bulkhead structure that allows materials to pass selectively. Here, the ion exchange membrane 43 is a proton exchange membrane and can move H+ produced in the oxidation reaction electrolytic tank 45 toward the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46. More specifically, examples of the ion exchange membrane 43 include a cation exchange membrane such as nafion and fremion and an anion exchange membrane such as neoceptor and selemion.

[0137] Instead of the ion exchange membrane 43, an agar such as a salt bridge, through which ions can move and which separates an electrolytic solution may be used.
In general, if a proton exchangeable solid polymer membrane typified by nafion is used, the ion moving performance is good.

[0138] A circulation mechanism 42 such as a pump may be provided in the electrolytic tank flow passage 41. In this case, circulation of ions (H+) can be improved between the oxidation reaction electrolytic tank 45 and the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46. Two electrolytic tank flow passages 41 may be provided, and by virtue of the use of the circulation mechanism 42 provided in one of the electrolytic tank flow passages 41, ions are moved from the oxidation reaction electrolytic tank 45 to the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46 through one of the electrolytic tank flow passages 41, and ions may be moved from the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46 to the oxidation reaction electrolytic tank 45 through the other electrolytic tank flow passage 41. Further, a plurality of the circulation mechanisms 42 may be provided. Further, a plurality of (not less than three) the electrolytic tank flow passage 41 may be provided to reduce diffusion of ions and circulate ions more efficiently. Furthermore, a liquid is transported, whereby gas bubbles generated do not stay on an electrode surface and an electrolyte layer surface, and efficiency degradation and light quantity distribution caused by scattering of sunlight due to bubbles may be reduced.

[0139] Further, a temperature difference is caused to occur in an electrolytic solution using heat that moves upward by application of light to the surface of the multi-junction solar cell 17, so that diffusion of ions is reduced, and the ions may be circulated more efficiently. In other words, movement of ions can be promoted by convection other than ion diffusion.

[0140] Meanwhile, a temperature adjusting mechanism 44 which adjusts a temperature of an electrolytic solution is provided in the electrolytic tank flow passage 41 or the electrolytic tank 31, and a solar cell performance and a catalyst performance can be controlled by temperature control. Consequently, for example, in order to stabilize and enhance the solar cell performance and the catalyst performance, a temperature of a reaction system can be uniformized. Further, for system stabilization, a temperature increase can be prevented. selectivity of a solar cell and a catalyst can be changed by the temperature control, and its product can be controlled.

[0141] In this example, although an end of the substrate 11 protrudes more than ends of the multi-junction solar cell 17, the oxidation catalyst layer 19, and the reduction catalyst layer 20, this invention is not limited to this configuration. The substrate 11, the multi-junction solar cell 17, the oxidation catalyst layer 19, and the reduction catalyst layer 20 may have flat plate shapes having the same area.

[0142] Next, a variation of the photochemical reactor according to the present embodiment will be described.

[0143] FIGS. 10 and 11 are cross-sectional views showing structures of variations 1 and 2 in the photochemical reactor according to the present embodiment. In the variations of the photochemical reactor according to this embodiment, points different from the above structure will be mainly described.

[0144] As shown in FIG. 10, the variation 1 of the photochemical reactor according to the present embodiment is provided with a photochemical reaction cell, an electrolytic tank 31 including the photochemical reaction cell, and an opening 51 serving as an ion moving path and formed in the substrate 11.

[0145] The opening 51 is provided at an end of the substrate 11 so as to penetrate from an oxidation reaction electrolytic tank 45 to a reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46. According to this constitution, the opening 51 connects the oxidation reaction electrolytic tank 45 and the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46.

[0146] An ion exchange membrane 43 is filled in a portion of the opening 51 and allows only a specific ion to pass. According to this constitution, only the specific ion can be moved through the opening 51 provided with the ion exchange membrane 43 while an electrolytic solution is separated between the oxidation reaction electrolytic tank 45 and the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46.

[0147] In FIG. 11, the variation 2 in the photochemical reactor according to the present embodiment is provided with the photochemical reaction cell, the electrolytic tank 31, the multi-junction solar cell 17, the oxidation catalyst layer 19, the reduction catalyst layer 20, and the opening 51 formed as an ion moving path in the substrate 11.

[0148] The opening 51 is provided so as to penetrate through, for example, the substrate 11, the multi-junction solar cell 17, the oxidation catalyst layer 19, and the reduction catalyst layer 20 from the oxidation reaction electrolytic tank 45 to the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46. According to this constitution, the opening 51 connects the oxidation reaction electrolytic tank 45 and the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46.

[0149] The ion exchange membrane 43 is filled in a portion of the opening 51 and allows only a specific ion to pass. According to this constitution, only the specific ion can be moved through the opening 51 provided with the ion exchange membrane 43 while an electrolytic solution is separated between the oxidation reaction electrolytic tank 45 and the reduction reaction electrolytic tank 46.

[0150] In FIG. 11, although the ion exchange membrane 43 is formed in a portion of the opening 51, the ion exchange membrane 43 may be formed embedded inside the opening 51.

[0151] FIG. 12 is a view showing a photochemical reactor 200 and an electrolytic apparatus 300 according to the present embodiment. In the electrolytic apparatus 300, only a reduction catalyst layer 20a is shown, and other constituents are omitted.

[0152] As shown in FIG. 12, when carbon dioxide is reduced to produce a hydrocarbon compound, such as methanol, using the photochemical reactor 200 according to the present embodiment, a part of a reduction reaction from carbon dioxide to methanol may be carried out by another juxtaposed electrolytic apparatus 300. The electrolytic apparatus 300 has a known configuration and is provided with, for example, a metal catalyst, an organic metal complex catalyst, or a boron-doped diamond catalyst as the reduction catalyst layer 20a.

[0153] The reduction catalyst layer 20 in the photochemical reactor 200 according to the present embodiment can apply carbon dioxide to multi-electron reduction. Thus, in the photochemical reactor 200, formic acid and formaldehyde produced by reducing carbon dioxide are sequentially reduced to produce methanol. Meanwhile, as well as a usual type of the electrolytic apparatus 300, as an apparatus which reduces carbon dioxide to produce formic acid or an apparatus which reduces the obtained formic acid to produce formaldehyde, known apparatuses may be used. However, in the electrolytic apparatus 300, it is difficult to further reduce formaldehyde to produce methanol.

[0154] Thus, methanol is produced by reducing formic acid and formaldehyde, produced using the electrolytic apparatus 300, using the photochemical reactor 200 according to the present embodiment. Namely, the reduction reaction in the photochemical reactor 200 is a reduction reaction from formic acid and formaldehyde to methanol. Consequently, the generation efficiency of methanol in the photochemical reactor 200 is improved compared to a case of reducing carbon dioxide to produce methanol.

[0155] In the electrolytic apparatus 300, as the reduction catalyst 20a reducing carbon dioxide to produce formic acid, there are exemplified metal catalysts such as Sn, In, and Bi and organic metal complex catalysts such as Ru. As the catalyst 20a reducing formic acid to produce formaldehyde, there are exemplified a boron-doped diamond catalyst.

[0156] A catalyst reducing carbon dioxide to produce formic acid and formaldehyde is not limited, and known techniques are used. A power source and the configuration of the electrolytic apparatus 300 which reduce carbon dioxide to produce formic acid and formaldehyde are not limited.

[0157] When formic acid produced using the known electrolytic apparatus 300 is used as a raw material, formaldehyde and methanol are produced from formic acid using the photochemical reactor 200 according to the present embodiment. In this case, the reduction catalyst layer 20 according to this embodiment carries out a reduction reaction in a solution in which at least one reactant selected from carbon dioxide and formic acid is absorbed.

[0158] When formic acid and formaldehyde produced using the known electrolytic apparatus 300 are used as raw materials, methanol is produced from formic acid and formaldehyde using the photochemical reactor 200 according to the present embodiment. In this case, the reduction catalyst layer 20 according to this embodiment carries out a reduction reaction in a solution in which at least one reactant selected from carbon dioxide, formic acid, and formaldehyde is absorbed.

4. Examples of CO2 Reduction Catalyst



[0159] Hereinafter, examples of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the present embodiment will be described using FIGS. 13 to 20.

[0160] FIG. 13 is a view showing Examples 1 to 11 of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the present embodiment, Comparative Example 1, and evaluation of the CO2 reduction performances of them. FIG. 14 is a view showing Examples 12 to 17 of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to this embodiment and evaluation of the CO2 reduction performances of them. FIG. 15 is a view showing Examples 18 to 30 of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to this embodiment, Comparative Examples 1 to 12, and evaluation of the CO2 reduction performances of them. FIG. 16 is a view showing Examples 31 to 33 of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to this embodiment, Comparative Examples 1, 13, and 14, and evaluation of the CO2 reduction performances of them. FIG. 17 is a view showing Examples 34 to 39 of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the embodiment, Comparative Example 14, and evaluation of the CO2 reduction performances of them. FIG. 18 is a view showing Example 40 of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to this embodiment, Comparative Example 15, and evaluation of the CO2 reduction performances of them. FIG. 19 is a view showing Examples 41 to 46 of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to this embodiment and evaluation of the CO2 reduction performances of them. FIG. 20 is a view showing Examples 47 to 52 of the CO2 reduction catalyst according to this embodiment, Comparative Example 14, and evaluation of the CO2 reduction performances of them.

[0161] More specifically, FIGS. 13 to 17 show an electrode potential and a product selectivity (Faraday efficiency) of a working electrode when constant-current electrolysis is conducted in the CO2 reduction catalyst in each of Examples 1 to 39 and Comparative Examples 1 to 14. FIG. 18 shows an energy conversion efficiency when the CO2 reduction catalyst in each of Example 40 and Comparative Example 15 is applied to a photochemical reactor. FIG. 19 shows a modified molecular density (in these examples, a molecular density of an organic molecular layer 106) and the product selectivity in the CO2 reduction catalyst in each of Examples 41 to 52 and Comparative Example 14.

[0162] In the following examples, descriptions of similar points will be omitted as appropriate, and different points will be mainly described.

[0163] First, Examples 1 to 11 and Comparative Example 1 will be described using FIG. 13.

[Example 1]



[0164] As shown in FIG. 13, the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 1 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, the organic molecular layer 106 is 10-carboxy-1-decanethiol, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 20 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 11-mercaptoundecane-1-trimethylammoniumchloride.

(Production of CO2 reduction catalyst)



[0165] First, the surface layer 102 is formed on a charge collector 101, constituted of a stainless substrate (150 mm × 250 mm, thickness: 150 µm), by sputtering. The surface layer 102 has a uniform film thickness in a surface direction, and the film thickness is 100 nm. The surface layer 102 is a metal layer formed of Au.

[0166] Next, the organic molecular layer 106 is formed on a surface of the surface layer 102. The organic molecular layer 106 is formed by immersing the surface layer 102 in a 10-carboxy-1-decanethiol solution (ethanol solution of 1 mM) of 10 mL for 48 hours.

[0167] The formation of the organic molecular layer 106 is confirmed by measuring and comparing an electrochemical response of a substrate before and after a process of forming the organic molecular layer 106. More specifically, a three-electrode type cell in which a substrate formed with Au is a working electrode, a reference electrode is an Ag/AgCl electrode, and a counter electrode is a Pt electrode is formed. Then, a response of an oxidation-reduction current of a hexacyanoferrate (III) anion is observed in a 0.2 M potassium chloride (KCl) aqueous solution dissolved with potassium hexacyanoferrate (III) (K3[Fe(CN)6]) of 1 mM when a potential range is -0.1 to +0.5 V with respect to the Ag/AgCl electrode and a scanning speed is 100 mV/sec. Although an inversible oxidation-reduction current of a redox species is observed before the formation of the organic molecular layer 106, the oxidation-reduction current is not observed before the formation of the organic molecular layer 106. Disappearance of an electrochemical oxidation-reduction reaction of the hexacyanoferrate (III) anion is considered to be due to a shielding effect based on the formation of the organic molecular layer 106.

[0168] Then, the metal fine particles 107 constituted of Au are fixed onto a surface of the organic molecular layer 106. The metal fine particles 107 are fixed by immersing the substrate formed with the organic molecular layer 106 in an aqueous solution dispersed with the metal fine particles 107 for 12 hours. The metal fine particles 107 are Au nanoparticles whose average particle diameter evaluated using a particle size distribution meter (Zetasizer Nano ZS manufacuted by Malvern Instruments Ltd) is 20 nm.

[0169] The fixing of the metal fine particles 107 is confirmed by measuring and comparing an electrochemical response of a substrate before and after a process of fixing the metal fine particles 107. More specifically, a three-electrode type cell in which a substrate formed with the organic molecular layer 106 is a working electrode, a reference electrode is an Ag/AgCl electrode, and a counter electrode is a Pt electrode is formed. Then, a response of an oxidation-reduction current of hexacyanoferrate (III) anion is observed in a 0.2 M potassium chloride (KCl) aqueous solution dissolved with potassium hexacyanoferrate (III) (K3[Fe(CN)6]) of 1 mM when the potential range is - 0.1 to +0.5 V with respect to the Ag/AgCl electrode and the scanning speed is 100 mV/sec. Although an inversible oxidation-reduction current of a redox species is not observed due to the shielding effect according to the organic molecular layer 106 before the fixing of the metal fine particles 107, the oxidation-reduction current is observed again after the fixing of the metal fine particles 107. The fixing of the metal fine particles 107 onto the surface of the organic molecular layer 106 can be confirmed by observation of the electrochemical oxidation-reduction reaction of the hexacyanoferrate (III) anion.

[0170] Next, the modified organic molecule 112 is formed on the surface of the metal fine particle 107. The modified organic molecule 112 is formed by immersing the substrate formed with the metal fine particle 107 in an 11-mercaptoundecane-1-trimethylammoniumchloride solution (ethanol solution of 1 mM) of 10 mL for 48 hours.

[0171] The formation of the modified organic molecule 112 is confirmed by measuring and comparing an electrochemical response of a substrate before and after a process of forming the modified organic molecule 112 on the metal fine particle 107. More specifically, a three-electrode type cell in which a substrate fixed with the metal fine particle 107 is a working electrode, a reference electrode is an Ag/AgCl electrode, and a counter electrode is a Pt electrode is formed. Then, a response of an oxidation-reduction current of hexaammineruthenium (III) anion is observed in a 0.2 M potassium chloride (KCl) aqueous solution dissolved with hexaammineruthenium (III) chloride ([Ru(NH3)6]Cl3) of 1 mM when the potential range is -0.5 to +0.1 V with respect to the Ag/AgCl electrode and the scanning speed is 100 mV/sec. Although an inversible oxidation-reduction current of a redox species is observed before the formation of the modified organic molecule 112, the oxidation-reduction reaction is not observed after the formation of the modified organic molecule 112. Disappearance of an electrochemical oxidation-reduction reaction of the hexaammineruthenium (III) cation is considered to be due to the shielding effect based on the formation of the modified organic molecule 112.

[0172] After that, in order to increase the amount of the metal fine particles 107, the process of fixing the metal fine particle 107 and forming the modified organic molecule 112 is repeated 10 times.

(Measurement of CO2 reduction performance)



[0173] The CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst (CO2 reduction electrode) in Example 1 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement as follows.

[0174] A triethanolamine aqueous solution (50 wt% aqueous solution) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction. A 100% CO2 gas was bubbled through the triethanolamine aqueous solution, and CO2 was dissolved until the concentration of CO2 absorbed in the solution reached saturation. When inlet and outlet concentrations of the CO2 gas absorbed in the triethanolamine aqueous solution are measured and the inlet and outlet concentrations reach the same concentration, it is judged that the concentration reaches saturation.

[0175] The reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst was evaluated by an electrochemical measuring device (Solartron·Cell Test System manufactured by TOYO Corporation). The CO2 reduction electrode was evaluated using an H-type cell, and a three-electrode type cell in which the CO2 reduction electrode is a working electrode, a reference electrode is an Ag/AgCl electrode, and a counter electrode is a Pt electrode is formed. The Pt electrode is arranged in a cell partitioned by a glass filter.

[0176] In this electrochemical measuring device, an electrode potential (voltage) of a working electrode with respect to a reference electrode was measured when constant-current electrolysis was conducted so that a current flowing through a working electrode and a counter electrode was 1 mA/cm2. Since a potential changes immediately after start of electrolysis, a value after 30 minutes when the potential was stabilized was adopted. Further, a reduction product produced at that time was analyzed. A gas component (hydrogen gas and carbon monoxide gas) was analyzed by gas chromatography (Varian Micro GC CP4900). Further, formic acid, formaldehyde, and methanol as reduced products dissolved in an electrolytic solution were analyzed. Formic acid was analyzed by ion chromatography (manufactured by Thermo Fisher Scientific K.K. (DX-320)), formaldehyde was analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography (manufactured by Waters (ACQUITY UPLC))), and methanol was analyzed by gas chromatograph/mass spectrometry analysis (manufactured by Agilent Technologies(6890/5975)). The Faraday efficiency (product selectivity) was obtained from a current consumed by reduction reaction in the working electrode and quantitative analysis of a produced reduction product.

[Example 2]



[0177] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 2 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 11-amino-1-undecanethiol, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 20 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. Namely, the organic molecular layer 106 and the modified organic molecule 112 were changed with respect to the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 1. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 2 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 3]



[0178] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 3 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1,6-hexane dithiol, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 20 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(8-mercaptooctyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide. Namely, the organic molecular layer 106 and the modified organic molecule 112 were changed with respect to the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 1. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 3 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 4]



[0179] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 4 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 20 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(8-mercaptooctyl)-1-methylpiperidinium bromide. Namely, the organic molecular layer 106 and the modified organic molecule 112 were changed with respect to the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 1. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 4 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 5]



[0180] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 5 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(12-mercaptododecyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 20 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(10-mercaptodecyl)-1-methylpyrrolidinium. Namely, the organic molecular layer 106 and the modified organic molecule 112 were changed with respect to the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 1. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 4 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 6]



[0181] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 6 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 20 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide. Namely, the organic molecular layer 106 and the modified organic molecule 112 were changed with respect to the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 1. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 6 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 7]



[0182] In a CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 7, a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 20 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is not formed.

(Production of CO2 reduction catalyst)



[0183] First, the surface layer 102 is formed on a charge collector 101, constituted of a stainless substrate (150 mm × 250 mm, thickness: 150 µm), by sputtering. The surface layer 102 has a uniform film thickness in a surface direction, and the film thickness is 100 nm. The surface layer 102 is a metal layer formed of Au.

[0184] Next, the organic molecular layer 106 is formed on a surface of the surface layer 102. The organic molecular layer 106 is formed by immersing the surface layer 102 in a 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide solution (ethanol solution of 1 mM) of 10 mL for 48 hours.

[0185] Then, the metal fine particles 107 constituted of Au are fixed onto a surface of the organic molecular layer 106. The metal fine particles 107 are fixed by immersing a substrate formed with the organic molecular layer 106 in an aqueous solution dispersed with the metal fine particles 107 for 12 hours.

(Measurement of CO2 reduction performance)



[0186] As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 7 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 8]



[0187] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 8 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide, and an organic molecular layer 106 and a metal fine particle 107 are not formed.

(Production of CO2 reduction catalyst)



[0188] First, the surface layer 102 is formed on a charge collector 101, constituted of a stainless substrate (150 mm × 250 mm, thickness: 150 µm), by sputtering. The surface layer 102 has a uniform film thickness in a surface direction, and the film thickness is 100 nm. The surface layer 102 is a metal layer formed of Au.

[0189] Next, the modified organic particle 107 is formed on a surface of the surface layer 102. The modified organic particle 107 is formed by immersing the surface layer 102 in a 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide solution (ethanol solution of 1 mM) of 10 mL for 48 hours.

(Measurement of CO2 reduction performance)



[0190] As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 8 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 9]



[0191] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 9 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is TiO2, an organic molecular layer 106 is 11-mercaptoundecane-1-phosphonic acid, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 20 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(8-mercaptooctyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. Namely, the surface layer 102, the organic molecular layer 106, and the modified organic molecule 112 were changed with respect to the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 1. The surface layer 102 was formed by an ALD method, and the film thickness was 1 nm. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 9 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 10]



[0192] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 10, a base material surface (surface layer 102) is ZrO2, an organic molecular layer 106 is 11-mercaptoundecane-1-phosphonic acid, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 20 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(8-mercaptooctyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. Namely, the surface layer 102, the organic molecular layer 106, and the modified organic molecule 112 were changed with respect to the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 1. The surface layer 102 was formed by the ALD method, and the film thickness was 1 nm. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 10 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 11]



[0193] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 11 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Al2O3, an organic molecular layer 106 is 11-mercaptoundecane-1-phosphonic acid, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 20 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(8-mercaptooctyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. Namely, the surface layer 102, the organic molecular layer 106, and the modified organic molecule 112 were changed with respect to the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 1. The surface layer 102 was formed by the ALD method, and the film thickness was 1 nm. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 11 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Comparative Example 1]



[0194] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 1 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, and an organic molecular layer 106, a metal fine particle 107, and a modified organic molecule 112 are not formed. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 1 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Evaluation of CO2 reduction performances in Examples 1 to 11]



[0195] As shown in FIG. 13, in Examples 1 to 11, the surface layer 102, the organic molecular layer 106, and the modified organic molecule 112 were suitably changed without changing the average particle diameter of the metal fine particles 107.

[0196] In the CO2 reduction catalysts in Examples 1 to 5, even if the organic molecular layer 106 and the modified organic molecule 112 are changed, the CO2 reduction potential is low compared to the flat-plate shaped Au electrode shown in Comparative Example 1, and the product selectivity is high. This is considered to be because the metal fine particle 107 having a large reactive area advantageously acts on the CO2 reduction reaction regardless of the materials of the organic molecular layer 106 and the modified organic molecule 112, and, in addition, the modified organic molecule 112 contributes to the enhancement of the CO2 reduction activity. In other words, the modified organic molecule 112 can selectively make the CO2 reduction reaction advance with low energy with respect to the CO2 reduction reaction.

[0197] In the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 7, as compared to the flat-plate shaped Au electrode shown in Comparative Example 1, the CO2 reduction potential is low, and the production selectivity is high. This is considered to be because, even if the modified organic molecule 112 is not provided, the metal fine particle 107 having a large reactive area advantageously acts on the CO2 reduction reaction.

[0198] In the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 8, as compared to the flat-plate shaped Au electrode shown in Comparative Example 1, the CO2 reduction potential is low, and the production selectivity is high. This is considered to be because, even if the organic molecular layer 106 and the metal fine particle 107 are not provided, the modified organic molecule 112 contributes to the enhancement of the CO2 reduction activity.

[0199] In the CO2 reduction catalysts in Examples 9 and 10, as compared to the flat-plate shaped Au electrode shown in Comparative Example 1, the CO2 reduction potential is low, and the product selectivity is high. This is considered to be because, even if the surface layer 102 is an oxide layer, the metal fine particle 107 having a large reactive area advantageously acts on the CO2 reduction reaction regardless of the material of the surface layer 102, and, in addition, the modified organic molecule 112 contributes to the enhancement of the CO2 reduction activity. Namely, even if the surface layer 102 is an oxide layer, a CO2 reduction catalyst having high CO2 reduction performance can be provided.

[0200] Next, Examples 12 to 17 will be described using FIG. 14.

[Example 12]



[0201] As shown in FIG. 14, the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 12 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, the organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 0.5 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 12 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 13]



[0202] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 13 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 54 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 13 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 14]



[0203] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 14 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 105 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 14 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 15]



[0204] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 15 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 156 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 15 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 16]



[0205] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 16 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 300 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 16 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 17]



[0206] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 17 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 500 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 17 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Evaluation of CO2 reduction performances in Examples 12 to 17]



[0207] As shown in FIG. 14, in Examples 12 to 17, the average particle diameter of the metal fine particles 107 was suitably changed without changing the surface layer 102, the organic molecular layer 106, and the modified organic molecule 112.

[0208] In the CO2 reduction catalysts in Examples 12 to 17, as compared to the flat-plate shaped Au electrode shown in Comparative Example 1, the CO2 reduction potential is low, and the production selectivity is high. However, if the average particle diameter of the metal fine particles 107 is more than 300 nm (Examples 16 and 17), the product selectively is reduced. This is considered to be because, if the average particle diameter of the metal fine particles 107 is more than 300 nm, the active area (surface area of the metal fine particle) required for reaction is reduced.

[0209] Next, Examples 18 to 30 and Comparative Examples 1 to 12 will be described using FIG. 15.

[Example 18]



[0210] As shown in FIG. 15, the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 18 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1,10-decane dithiol, metal fine particles 107 are Ag particles having an average particle diameter of 15 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 18 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 19]



[0211] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 19 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Ag, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1,10-decane dithiol, metal fine particles 107 are Pt particles having an average particle diameter of 15 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 19 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 20]



[0212] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 20 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Ag, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1,10-decane dithiol, metal fine particles 107 are Ag particles having an average particle diameter of 15 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 20 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 21]



[0213] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 21 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Cu, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1,10-decane dithiol, metal fine particles 107 are Cu particles having an average particle diameter of 15 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 21 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 22]



[0214] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 22 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Zn, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1,10-decane dithiol, metal fine particles 107 are Zn particles having an average particle diameter of 15 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 22 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 23]



[0215] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 23 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Pt, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1,10-decane dithiol, metal fine particles 107 are Sn particles having an average particle diameter of 15 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 23 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 24]



[0216] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 24 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1,10-decane dithiol, metal fine particles 107 are Pd particles having an average particle diameter of 15 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 24 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 25]



[0217] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 25 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Fe, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1,10-decane dithiol, metal fine particles 107 are Al particles having an average particle diameter of 15 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 25 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 26]



[0218] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 26 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Ti, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1,10-decane dithiol, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 15 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 26 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 27]



[0219] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 27 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Ni, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1,10-decane dithiol, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 15 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 27 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 28]



[0220] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 28 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Sn, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1,10-decane dithiol, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 15 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 29]



[0221] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 29 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is In, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1,10-decane dithiol, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 15 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 29 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Example 30]



[0222] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 30 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Bi, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1,10-decane dithiol, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 15 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 30 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Comparative Example 2]



[0223] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 2 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Pt, and an organic molecular layer 106, a metal fine particle 107, and a modified organic molecule 112 are not formed. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 2 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Comparative Example 3]



[0224] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 3 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Ag, and an organic molecular layer 106, a metal fine particle 107, and a modified organic molecule 112 are not formed. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 3 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Comparative Example 4]



[0225] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 4 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Cu, an organic molecular layer 106, a metal fine particle 107, and a modified organic molecule 112 are not formed. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 4 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Comparative Example 5]



[0226] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 5 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Zn, an organic molecular layer 106, a metal fine particle 107, and a modified organic molecule 112 are not formed. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 5 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Comparative Example 6]



[0227] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 6 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Pd, an organic molecular layer 106, a metal fine particle 107, and a modified organic molecule 112 are not formed. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 6 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Comparative Example 7]



[0228] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 7 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Fe, an organic molecular layer 106, a metal fine particle 107, and a modified organic molecule 112 are not formed. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 7 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Comparative Example 8]



[0229] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 8 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Ti, an organic molecular layer 106, a metal fine particle 107, and a modified organic molecule 112 are not formed. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 8 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Comparative Example 9]



[0230] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 9 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Ni, an organic molecular layer 106, a metal fine particle 107, and a modified organic molecule 112 are not formed. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 9 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Comparative Example 10]



[0231] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 10 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Sn, an organic molecular layer 106, a metal fine particle 107, and a modified organic molecule 112 are not formed. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 10 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Comparative Example 11]



[0232] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 11 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is In, an organic molecular layer 106, a metal fine particle 107, and a modified organic molecule 112 are not formed. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 11 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Comparative Example 12]



[0233] The CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 12 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Bi, an organic molecular layer 106, a metal fine particle 107, and a modified organic molecule 112 are not formed. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 12 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement.

[Evaluation of CO2 reduction performances in Examples 18 to 30]



[0234] As shown in FIG. 15, in each of Examples 18 to 30, the material of the surface layer 102 and the material of the metal fine particles 107 were suitably changed without changing the organic molecular layer 106, the modified organic molecule 112, and the average particle diameter of the metal fine particles 107.

[0235] In the CO2 reduction catalysts in Examples 18 to 30, as compared to the flat-plate shaped Au, Pt, Ag, Cu, and Zn electrodes shown in Comparative Examples 1 to 12, the CO2 reduction potential is low, and the production selectivity is high. Namely, even if the surface layers 102 and the metal fine particles 107 of various metals such as Au, Pt, Ag, Cu, and Zn are used as in Examples 18 to 30, a CO2 reduction catalyst having high CO2 reduction performance can be provided.

[0236] Next, Examples 31 to 33 and Comparative Examples 13 and 14 will be described using FIG. 16.

[Example 31]



[0237] As shown in FIG. 16, a CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 31 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-1-methylpyrrolidinium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 30 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-1-methylpyrrolidinium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 31 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Example 31, a triethanolamine aqueous solution (50 wt% aqueous solution, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[Example 32]



[0238] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 32 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-1-methylpyrrolidinium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 30 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-1-methylpyrrolidinium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 32 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Example 32, a 90% 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate aqueous solution (EMIBF4, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[Example 33]



[0239] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 33 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-1-methylpyrrolidinium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 30 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-1-methylpyrrolidinium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 33 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Example 33, a 5% aqueous sodium hydrogencarbonate solution (NaHCO3, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[Comparative Example 13]



[0240] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 13 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106, a metal fine particle 107, and a modified organic molecule 112 are not formed. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 13 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Comparative Example 13, a 90% 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate aqueous solution (EMIBF4, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[Comparative Example 14]



[0241] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 14 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106, a metal fine particle 107, and a modified organic molecule 112 are not formed. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 14 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Comparative Example 14, a 5% aqueous sodium hydrogencarbonate solution (NaHCO3, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[Evaluation of CO2 reduction performances in Examples 31 to 33]



[0242] As shown in FIG. 14, in each of Examples 31 to 33, the electrolytic solutions for CO2 reduction were suitably changed without changing the materials of the surface layer 102, the organic molecular layer 106, the modified organic molecule 112, and the metal fine particles 107.

[0243] In the CO2 reduction catalysts in Examples 31 to 33, as compared to the flat-plate shaped Au electrode shown in Comparative Examples 1, 13, and 14, the CO2 reduction potential is low, and the production selectivity is high. Namely, even if an amine aqueous solution, an ionic liquid aqueous solution, or sodium hydrogen carbonate is used as an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction as in Examples 31 to 33, a CO2 reduction catalyst having high CO2 reduction performance can be provided. In particular, when the ionic liquid aqueous solution was used (Example 32), the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the present embodiment exhibited the highest CO2 reduction performance.

[0244] Next, Examples 34 to 39 and Comparative Example 14 will be described using FIG. 17.

[Example 34]



[0245] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 34 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 5 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 34 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Example 34, a 5% aqueous sodium hydrogencarbonate solution (NaHCO3, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[Example 35]



[0246] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 35 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(6-mercaptoethyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 5 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(6-mercaptoethyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 35 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Example 35, a 5% aqueous sodium hydrogencarbonate solution (NaHCO3, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[Example 36]



[0247] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 36 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(12-mercaptododecyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 5 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(12-mercaptododecyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 36 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Example 36, a 5% aqueous sodium hydrogencarbonate solution (NaHCO3, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[Example 37]



[0248] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 37 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 5 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 37 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Example 37, a 5% aqueous sodium hydrogencarbonate solution (NaHCO3, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[Example 38]



[0249] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 38 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-1-methylpyrrolidinium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 5 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-1-methylpyrrolidinium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 38 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Example 38, a 5% aqueous sodium hydrogencarbonate solution (NaHCO3, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[Example 39]



[0250] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 39 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-1-methylpiperidinium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 5 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-1-methylpiperidinium bromide. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 39 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Example 39, a 5% aqueous sodium hydrogencarbonate solution (NaHCO3, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[Evaluation of CO2 reduction performances in Examples 34 to 39]



[0251] As shown in FIG. 17, in Examples 34 to 39, the organic molecular layer 106 and the modified organic molecule 112 were suitably changed without changing the surface layer 102 and the material and the average particle diameter of the metal fine particles 107. In Examples 34 to 39, the same molecule was used in the organic molecular layer 106 and the modified organic molecule 112. As the electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction, the 5% aqueous sodium hydrogencarbonate solution was used. The average particle diameter of the metal fine particles 107 was relatively small and 3 nm.

[0252] In the CO2 reduction catalyst in Examples 34 to 39, as compared to the flat-plate shaped Au electrode shown in Comparative Example 14, the CO2 reduction potential is low, and the production selectivity (total of all product selectivities) is high. In this case, as CO2 reduction products, HCOOH, HCHO, and CH3OH were produced with high selectivity in addition to CO. This is considered to be due to the following reason.

[0253] In Examples 34 to 39, since the average particle diameter of the metal fine particles 107 is as small as 3 nm, the total of the surface areas is increased. Thus, the modified organic molecules 112 contributing the enhancement of CO2 reduction activity are arranged with high density. Consequently, a strong interaction between a carbonate ion and the modified organic molecule 112 is obtained. Consequently, it is considered that a reduction potential was further reduced, and the selectivity of a reduction product was changed. In other words, since a large number of the modified organic molecules 112 are formed, the CO2 reduction reaction can be selectively proceeded with low energy.

[0254] The selectivity of a reduction product can be changed by changing the structure of the modified organic molecule 112.

[0255] Next, Example 40 and Comparative Example 15 will be described using FIG. 18.

[Example 40]



[0256] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 40 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 20 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. In Example 40, the CO2 reduction performance was measured by applying the CO2 reduction catalyst in a photochemical reaction cell and a photochemical reactor.

(Production of photochemical reactor)



[0257] A photochemical reaction cell was produced by the following method. The CO2 reduction catalyst was produced in a similar way to Example 1, except that the organic molecular layer 106 and the modified organic molecule 112 were changed to 1-(4-mercaptobutyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. This CO2 reduction catalyst is formed on a substrate 11 of a multi-junction solar cell.

[0258] Next, nickel oxide nanoparticles were dispersed into an alcohol aqueous solution, and an oxidation catalyst layer 19 was formed in an oxidation electrode layer 18 of the multi-junction solar cell by spray coating. A photochemical cell thus obtained was cut out into a size of 150 mm × 250 mm.

(Measurement of energy conversion efficiency)



[0259] The photochemical cell was incorporated into the photochemical reactor, and the CO2 reduction efficiency was evaluated. A 0.5 M potassium hydroxide (KOH) aqueous solution was used in an oxidation-side electrolytic solution, and a 50% triethanolamine aqueous solution (CO2 saturated aqueous solution) was used in a reduction-side electrolytic solution. An anion exchange membrane was used as an ion exchange membrane. Light at AM 1.5 (100 mW/cm2) emitted by a solar simulator was irradiated from the oxidation catalyst layer 19 side, and CO gas generated on the reduction side was quantitatively analyzed by gas chromatography. According to this constitution, an energy conversion efficiency (an efficiency obtained when an irradiated solar energy was used as a denominator, and a Gibbs free energy of a produced material was used as a numerator) was calculated.

[Comparative Example 15]



[0260] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 1 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106, a metal fine particle 107, and a modified organic molecule 112 are not formed. As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 1 was applied to a photochemical reaction cell and a photochemical reactor, and the energy conversion efficiency was calculated.

[Evaluation of energy conversion efficiency according to CO2 reduction in Example 40]



[0261] When the CO2 reduction catalyst in Comparative Example 15 is applied to a photochemical reactor, the energy conversion efficiency in the photochemical reactor is 0.01%. Meanwhile, when the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 40 is applied to the photochemical reactor, the energy conversion efficiency is 0.03%, and the energy conversion efficiency higher than that in Comparative Example 15 is exhibited. In the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 40, the reaction of CO2 reduction can be selectively advanced with low energy with respect to the CO2 reduction reaction, and it is effective even with light energy.

[0262] Next, Examples 41 to 52 will be described using FIGS. 19 and 20.

[Example 41]



[0263] As shown in FIG. 19, a CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 41 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(2-mercaptoetyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 3 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(2-mercaptoetyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. The molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 on the surface layer 102 in Example 41 is 1 × 1011 atoms/cm2.

(Method of calculating molecular density)



[0264] In Example 41, in order to calculate a binding state of molecules of the organic molecular layer 106 and the molecular density, analysis using an X-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS) was performed. The analysis conditions are shown as follows. A detection angle shows an angle formed by a sample normal and a detector input lens shaft.

[0265] Model in use Quantera-SXM manufactured by PHI

[0266] Irradiation X-ray source single crystal spectrum AlKα ray
Output 50 W
Analyzed area φ200 µm
Pass Energy Wide Scan - 280.0 eV (1.0 eV/Step)
  Narrow Scan - 69.0 eV (0.125 eV/Step)
Detection angle 45°
Charge neutralization electron gun using both Ar+ and e- As electrification correction (horizontal axis energy correction), C-C/H binding component of a C1s spectrum was made to correspond to 284.80 eV.

[0267] The binding density (molecular density) of the molecules of the organic molecular layer 106 was calculated from the number of S atoms, normalized from the number of Au atoms (S/Au) in semi-quantitative analysis results with respect to the number of Au atoms per unit area roughly estimated using the formula (12), using the formula (13).





[0268] Here, the density is 19.3 g/cm3, detection depth is 5 nm, N is Avogadro's number (atoms/mol), Mw is 197 g/mol.

(Measurement of CO2 reduction performance)



[0269] As in Example 41, in an electrochemical measuring device similar to that in Example 1, when constant potential electrolysis was conducted so that a potential electrode (voltage) of a working electrode with respect to a reference electrode was -1.3 V, an electric current flowing through the working electrode and a counter electrode was measured. Since the electric current changes immediately after start of the electrolysis, a value after 30 minutes when the potential was stabilized was adopted. In Example 41, a 5% aqueous sodium hydrogencarbonate solution (NaHCO3, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[0270] Further, a reduction product produced at that time was analyzed. A gas component (hydrogen gas and carbon monoxide gas) was analyzed by a gas chromatography (Varian Micro GC CP4900). Further, formic acid, formaldehyde, methanol, acetic acid, acetaldehyde, and ethanol as products dissolved in an electrolytic solution were analyzed. Formic acid was analyzed by ion chromatography (manufactured by Thermo Fisher Scientific K.K. (DX-320)), formaldehyde was analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography (manufactured by Waters (ACQUITY UPLC))), methanol was analyzed by gas chromatograph/mass spectrometry analysis (manufactured by Agilent Technologies (6890/5975)), and acetic acid, acetaldehyde, and ethanol were analyzed by gas chromatograph/mass spectrometry analysis (manufactured by Agilent Technologies (7890/5975)). The Faraday efficiency (product selectivity) was obtained from a current consumed by reduction reaction in the working electrode and quantitative analysis of a produced reduction product.

[Example 42]



[0271] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 42 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(6- mercaptohexyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 3 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(6- mercaptohexyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. The molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 on the surface layer 102 in Example 42 is 1 × 1011 atoms/cm2. The molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 was detected from XPS analysis.

[0272] As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 42 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Example 42, a 5% aqueous sodium hydrogencarbonate solution (NaHCO3, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[0273] As in Example 41, a reduction product produced at that time was analyzed.

[Example 43]



[0274] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 43 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(12-mercaptododecyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 3 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(12-mercaptododecyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. The molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 on the surface layer 102 in Example 43 is 1 × 1011 atoms/cm2. As in Example 41, the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 was detected from XPS analysis.

[0275] As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 43 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Example 43, a 5% aqueous sodium hydrogencarbonate solution (NaHCO3, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[0276] As in Example 41, a reduction product produced at that time was analyzed.

[Example 44]



[0277] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 44 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 3 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide. The molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 on the surface layer 102 in Example 44 is 1.2 × 1011 atoms/cm2. As in Example 41, the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 was detected from the XPS analysis.

[0278] As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 44 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Example 44, a 5% aqueous sodium hydrogencarbonate solution (NaHCO3, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[0279] As in Example 41, a reduction product produced at that time was analyzed.

[Example 45]



[0280] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 45 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 3 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide. The molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 on the surface layer 102 in Example 45 is 1 × 1011 atoms/cm2. As in Example 41, the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 was detected from the XPS analysis.

[0281] As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 45 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Example 45, a 5% aqueous sodium hydrogencarbonate solution (NaHCO3, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[0282] As in Example 41, a reduction product produced at that time was analyzed.

[Example 46]



[0283] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 46 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 3 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide. The molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 on the surface layer 102 in Example 46 is 1.3 × 1011 atoms/cm2. As in Example 41, the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 was detected from the XPS analysis.

[0284] As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 46 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Example 46, a 5% aqueous sodium hydrogencarbonate solution (NaHCO3, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[0285] As in Example 41, a reduction product produced at that time was analyzed.

[Example 47]



[0286] As shown in FIG. 20, a CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 47 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 3 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. The molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 on the surface layer 102 in Example 47 is 1 × 1014 atoms/cm2. Namely, as in Example 47, the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 was increased compared to Examples 41 to 46. As in Example 41, the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 was detected from the XPS analysis.

[0287] As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 47 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Example 47, a 5% aqueous sodium hydrogencarbonate solution (NaHCO3, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[0288] As in Example 41, a reduction product produced at that time was analyzed.

(Production method of binding organic binding molecular layer 106 in densest manner)



[0289] As a method of forming an organic molecular layer 106 in a densest manner on a surface (surface layer 102) of a charge collector 101 (increasing the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106), activation processing for promoting binding of organic molecules to the surface (surface layer 102) of the charge collector 101 is conducted. The activation processing removes an oxide film and an adsorbed organic compound on the surface layer 102 to expose a metal surface which is active for reaction with the organic molecular layer 106. More specifically, when the surface layer 102 is a noble metal such as gold or platinum, an organic compound adsorbed to the surface can be removed by immersing a substrate in a Piranha solution (sulfuric acid:30% hydrogen peroxide solution = 3:1).

[0290] As other methods, a UV-ozone cleaning method and an electrochemical method may be used. The electrochemical method is preferably used because a reaction for binding molecules is easily advanced. In the electrochemical method, potential scanning according to cyclic voltammetry is repeated in a sulfuric acid aqueous solution. More specifically, in a three-electrode type cell, the charge collector 101 (surface layer 102) is used as a working electrode, a platinum electrode is used as a counter electrode, a silver-silver chloride electrode is used as a reference electrode, and a sulfuric acid aqueous solution is used as an electrolytic solution. The potential of the working electrode is set based on the reference electrode, and potential scanning is repeated. When the working electrode (surface layer 102) is a gold electrode, the potential range is from -0.1 to 1.5 V, the scanning speed is from 10 to 200 mV/second, and the scanning time is from 30 minutes to 3 hours. If a reproducible oxidation-reduction wave is obtained, it can be judged that the working electrode has been cleaned, and the processing conditions can be suitably selected.

[0291] In Example 47, the activation processing in the electrochemical method in which potential scanning according to cyclic voltammetry is repeated in a sulfuric acid aqueous solution was conducted. The potential range was from -0.1 to 1.5 V, the scanning speed was from 150 mV/second, and the scanning time was from 60 minutes.

[Example 48]



[0292] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 48 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 3 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(6-mercaptohexyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. The molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 on the surface layer 102 in Example 48 is 8 × 1013 atoms/cm2. As in Example 41, the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 was detected from the XPS analysis.

[0293] In Example 48, in order to increase the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106, the activation processing in the electrochemical method in which potential scanning according to cyclic voltammetry is repeated in a sulfuric acid aqueous solution was conducted. The potential range was from -0.1 to 1.5 V, the scanning speed was from 150 mV/second, and the scanning time was from 40 minutes.

[0294] As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 48 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Example 48, a 5% aqueous sodium hydrogencarbonate solution (NaHCO3, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[0295] As in Example 41, a reduction product produced at that time was analyzed.

[Example 49]



[0296] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 49 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(12- mercaptododecyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 3 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(12-mercaptododecyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide. The molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 on the surface layer 102 in Example 49 is 1.2 × 1015 atoms/cm2. As in Example 41, the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 was detected from the XPS analysis.

[0297] In Example 49, in order to increase the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106, the activation processing in the electrochemical method in which potential scanning according to cyclic voltammetry is repeated in a sulfuric acid aqueous solution was conducted. The potential range was from -0.1 to 1.5 V, the scanning speed was from 150 mV/second, and the scanning time was from 90 minutes.

[0298] As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 49 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Example 49, a 5% aqueous sodium hydrogencarbonate solution (NaHCO3, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[0299] As in Example 41, a reduction product produced at that time was analyzed.

[Example 50]



[0300] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 50 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 3 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-4-methylpyridinium bromide. The molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 on the surface layer 102 in Example 50 is 5 × 1012 atoms/cm2. As in Example 41, the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 was detected from the XPS analysis.

[0301] In Example 49, in order to increase the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106, the activation processing in the electrochemical method in which potential scanning according to cyclic voltammetry is repeated in a sulfuric acid aqueous solution was conducted. The potential range was from -0.1 to 1.5 V, the scanning speed was from 150 mV/second, and the scanning time was from 30 minutes.

[0302] As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 50 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Example 50, a 5% aqueous sodium hydrogencarbonate solution (NaHCO3, CO2 saturated absorbing liquid) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[0303] As in Example 41, a reduction product produced at that time was analyzed.

[Example 51]



[0304] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 51 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-1-methylpyrrolidinium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 3 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-1-methylpyrrolidinium bromide. The molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 on the surface layer 102 in Example 51 is 1 × 1014 atoms/cm2. As in Example 41, the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 was detected from the XPS analysis.

[0305] In Example 49, in order to increase the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106, the activation processing in the electrochemical method in which potential scanning according to cyclic voltammetry is repeated in a sulfuric acid aqueous solution was conducted. The potential range was from -0.1 to 1.5 V, the scanning speed was from 150 mV/second, and the scanning time was from 60 minutes.

[0306] As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 51 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Example 51, a 50% triethanolamine aqueous solution (CO2 saturated aqueous solution) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[0307] As in Example 41, a reduction product produced at that time was analyzed.

[Example 52]



[0308] A CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 52 is an example in which a base material surface (surface layer 102) is Au, an organic molecular layer 106 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-1-methylpiperidinium bromide, metal fine particles 107 are Au particles having an average particle diameter of 3 nm, and a modified organic molecule 112 is 1-(2-mercaptoethyl)-1-methylpiperidinium bromide. The molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 on the surface layer 102 in Example 52 is 1 × 1014 atoms/cm2. As in Example 41, the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 was detected from the XPS analysis.

[0309] In Example 52, in order to increase the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106, the activation processing in the electrochemical method in which potential scanning according to cyclic voltammetry is repeated in a sulfuric acid aqueous solution was conducted. The potential range was from -0.1 to 1.5 V, the scanning speed was from 150 mV/second, and the scanning time was from 60 minutes.

[0310] As in Example 1, the CO2 reduction performance of the CO2 reduction catalyst in Example 51 was evaluated by electrochemical measurement. In Example 51, a 90% EMIBF4 aqueous solution (CO2 saturated aqueous solution) was selected as a CO2 absorbent and an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction.

[0311] As in Example 41, a reduction product produced at that time was analyzed.

[Evaluation of CO2 reduction performances in Examples 41 to 52]



[0312] As shown in FIGS. 19 and 20, in Examples 41 to 52, the organic molecular layer 106 and the modified organic molecule 112 were suitably changed without changing the surface layer 102 and the material and the average particle diameter of the metal fine particles 107. The same molecule was used in the organic molecular layer 106 and the modified organic molecule 112. The average particle diameter of the metal fine particles 107 was relatively small at 3 nm.

[0313] In Examples 41 to 46, since the activation processing applied to the surface layer 102 was not conducted, the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 was approximately 1 × 1011 atoms/cm2. Thus, CO, HCOOH, HCHO, and CH3OH were mainly produced by the CO2 reduction. Meanwhile, in Examples 47 to 52, since electrochemical activation processing was applied to the surface layer 102, the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 was 1 × 1012 to 1015 atoms/cm2. Thus, in addition to CO, HCOOH, HCHO, and CH3OH, CH3COOH, CH3CHO, and CH3CH2OH were produced by the CO2 reduction. In particular, when the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106 was 1 × 1013 to 1015 atoms/cm2, CH3COOH, CH3CHO, and CH3CH2OH were mainly produced by the CO2 reduction. In accordance with the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106, HCOOH, HCHO, CH3OH, CH3COOH, CH3CHO, and CH3CH2OH were produced with high selectivity in addition to CO.

[0314] A modified molecule (organic molecular layer 106) has a function of stabilizing and holding an unstable one-electron reductant (CO2 radical anion) initially produced by a CO2 reduction reaction and can advance a multi-electron reduction reaction. Accordingly, in addition to CO, HCOOH, HCHO, and CH3OH can be produced by a modified molecule. Further, the higher the modified molecular density (the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106), the shorter the distance between modified molecules. Thus, a distance between unstable one-electron reductants (CO2 radical anions) in the CO2 reduction reaction is short, and thus a dimerization reaction for forming a C-C combination easily occurs. Consequently, on the densest modified molecular layer, a reaction in which adjacent one-electron reductants (CO2 radical anions) are bound each other preferentially occurs before processing to a reduction reaction of a second electron. Consequently, after that, a multi-electron reduction reaction occurs, whereby CH3COOH, CH3CHO, and CH3CH2OH were produced with high selectivity. Namely, the selectivity of reduction products can be controlled by changing the molecular density of modified molecules.

[0315] In this example, although a product is defined by the molecular density of the organic molecular layer 106, this invention is not limited to this configuration. When the modified organic molecule 112 as shown in FIG. 4 is formed directly on the surface layer 102, a product is defined by the molecular density of the modified organic molecule 112. Namely, a product is defined by the molecular density of a modified molecule (the organic molecular layer 106 and the modified organic molecules 112) formed on the surface layer 102.

[0316] In the CO2 reduction catalysts in Examples 41 to 52, as compared to the flat-plate shaped Au electrode shown in Comparative Example 14, the CO2 reduction potential is low, and the production selectivity (total of all product selectivities) is high. The total of the selectivities of CO2 reduction does not reach 100% because a side reaction due to hydrogen generation occurs.

[0317] Even if an amine aqueous solution, an ionic liquid aqueous solution, or sodium hydrogen carbonate is used as an electrolytic solution for CO2 reduction as in Examples 41 to 52, a CO2 reduction catalyst having high CO2 reduction performance can be provided. In particular, when the ionic liquid aqueous solution was used (Example 52), the CO2 reduction catalyst according to the present embodiment exhibited the highest CO2 reduction performance.

[0318] While certain embodiments have been described, these embodiments have been presented by way of example only, and are not intended to limit the scope of the inventions.

Reference Signs List



[0319] 
17
multi-junction solar cell
19
oxidation catalyst layer
20
reduction catalyst layer
101
charge collector
102
surface layer
106
organic molecular layer
107
metal fine particle
111
quaternary nitrogen cation
112
modified organic molecule



Claims

1. A reduction catalyst comprising:

a charge collector having a metal layer on a surface; and

a modified organic molecule containing a reactive functional group, a long chain alkyl group, and a quaternary nitrogen cation,

wherein the quaternary nitrogen cation is one of alkylammonium cation, pyridinium cation, piperidinium cation, and imidazolium cation,

the modified organic molecule is chemically bound to a surface of the metal layer by the reactive functional group,

the reactive functional group is formed at one end of the long chain alkyl group, and

the quaternary nitrogen cation is formed at the other end of the long chain alkyl group.


 
2. The reduction catalyst of Claim 1, wherein the metal layer includes metal fine particles.
 
3. The reduction catalyst of Claim 1, wherein a molecular density of the modified organic molecule is not less than 1 × 1013 atoms/cm2.
 
4. The reduction catalyst of Claim 1, wherein a molecular density of the modified organic molecule is not more than 1 × 1011 atoms/cm2.
 
5. A chemical reactor comprising:

an oxidation catalyst layer which is capable of oxidizing water;

a first reduction catalyst layer which comprises a charge collector comprising a metal layer formed on a surface thereof and a modified organic molecule containing a reactive functional group, a long chain alkyl group, and a quaternary nitrogen cation; and

a power supply element connected to the oxidation catalyst layer and the first reduction catalyst layer,

wherein the quaternary nitrogen cation is one of alkylammonium cation, pyridinium cation, piperidinium cation, and imidazolium cation,

the modified organic molecule is chemically bound to a surface of the metal layer by the reactive functional group,

the reactive functional group is formed at one end of the long chain alkyl group, and

the quaternary nitrogen cation is formed at the other end of the long chain alkyl group.


 
6. The chemical reactor of Claim 5, wherein the power supply element comprises a semiconductor layer that separates charges with light energy.
 
7. The chemical reactor of Claim 6, wherein the semiconductor layer is formed between the oxidation catalyst layer and the first reduction catalyst layer.
 
8. The chemical reactor of Claim 5, wherein the metal layer includes metal fine particles.
 
9. The chemical reactor of Claim 5, wherein a molecular density of the modified organic molecule is not less than 1 × 1013 atoms/cm2.
 
10. The chemical reactor of Claim 5, wherein a molecular density of the modified organic molecule is not more than 1 × 1011 atoms/cm2.
 
11. Use of the reduction catalyst as defined in Claim 1 for reducing at least one of carbon dioxide, formic acid, and formaldehyde,
wherein the at least one of carbon dioxide, formic acid, and formaldehyde is reduced in the metal layer to which the modified organic molecule is bound.
 
12. Use of the chemical reactor as defined in Claim 5 for reducing at least one of carbon dioxide, formic acid, and formaldehyde,
wherein the first reduction catalyst layer is immersed in a solution absorbed with at least one of carbon dioxide, formic acid, and formaldehyde, and in the metal layer to which the modified organic molecule is bound, the at least one of carbon dioxide, formic acid, and formaldehyde is reduced.
 
13. The use of Claim 12, wherein the first reduction catalyst layer is immersed in a solution absorbed with carbon dioxide, a molecular density of the modified organic molecule is not less than 1 × 1013 atoms/cm2, and in the metal layer to which the modified organic molecule is bound, carbon dioxide is reduced to produce acetic acid, acetaldehyde, and ethanol.
 
14. The use of Claim 12, wherein the first reduction catalyst layer is immersed in a solution absorbed with carbon dioxide, a molecular density of the modified organic molecule is not more than 1 × 1011 atoms/cm2, and in the metal layer to which the modified organic molecule is bound, carbon dioxide is reduced to produce formic acid, formaldehyde, and methanol.
 


Ansprüche

1. Reduktionskatalysator, umfassend:

einen Ladungskollektor mit einer Metallschicht auf einer Oberfläche; und

ein modifiziertes organisches Molekül, das eine reaktive funktionelle Gruppe, eine langkettige Alkylgruppe und ein quartäres Stickstoffkation enthält,

wobei das quartäre Stickstoffkation eines von Alkylammoniumkation, Pyridiniumkation, Piperidiniumkation und Imidazoliumkation ist,

das modifizierte organische Molekül über die reaktive funktionelle Gruppe chemisch an eine Oberfläche der Metallschicht gebunden ist,

die reaktive funktionelle Gruppe an einem Ende der langkettigen Alkylgruppe ausgebildet ist, und

das quartäre Stickstoffkation am anderen Ende der langkettigen Alkylgruppe ausgebildet ist.


 
2. Reduktionskatalysator gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei die Metallschicht Metallfeinpartikel enthält.
 
3. Reduktionskatalysator gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei eine Moleküldichte des modifizierten organischen Moleküls nicht weniger als 1 × 1013 Atome/cm2 beträgt.
 
4. Reduktionskatalysator gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei eine Moleküldichte des modifizierten organischen Moleküls nicht mehr als 1 × 1011 Atome/cm2 beträgt.
 
5. Chemischer Reaktor, umfassend:

eine Oxidationskatalysatorschicht, die in der Lage ist, Wasser zu oxidieren;

eine erste Reduktionskatalysatorschicht, umfassend einen Ladungskollektor, der eine Metallschicht, die auf einer Oberfläche davon gebildet ist, und ein modifiziertes organisches Molekül, das eine reaktive funktionelle Gruppe, eine langkettige Alkylgruppe und ein quartäres Stickstoffkation enthält, umfasst; und

ein Stromversorgungselement, das mit der Oxidationskatalysatorschicht und der ersten Reduktionskatalysatorschicht verbunden ist,

wobei das quartäre Stickstoffkation eines von Alkylammoniumkation, Pyridiniumkation, Piperidiniumkation und Imidazoliumkation ist,

das modifizierte organische Molekül über die reaktive funktionelle Gruppe chemisch an eine Oberfläche der Metallschicht gebunden ist,

die reaktive funktionelle Gruppe an einem Ende der langkettigen Alkylgruppe ausgebildet ist, und

das quartäre Stickstoffkation am anderen Ende der langkettigen Alkylgruppe ausgebildet ist.


 
6. Chemischer Reaktor gemäß Anspruch 5, wobei das Stromversorgungselement eine Halbleiterschicht umfasst, die Ladungen mit Lichtenergie trennt.
 
7. Chemischer Reaktor gemäß Anspruch 6, wobei die Halbleiterschicht zwischen der Oxidationskatalysatorschicht und der ersten Reduktionskatalysatorschicht ausgebildet ist.
 
8. Chemischer Reaktor gemäß Anspruch 5, wobei die Metallschicht Metallfeinpartikel enthält.
 
9. Chemischer Reaktor gemäß Anspruch 5, wobei eine Moleküldichte des modifizierten organischen Moleküls nicht weniger als 1 × 1013 Atome/cm2 beträgt.
 
10. Chemischer Reaktor gemäß Anspruch 5, wobei eine Moleküldichte des modifizierten organischen Moleküls nicht mehr als 1 × 1011 Atome/cm2 beträgt.
 
11. Verwendung des Reduktionskatalysators gemäß Anspruch 1 zur Reduktion von mindestens einem Vertreter von Kohlenstoffdioxid, Ameisensäure und Formaldehyd,
wobei der mindestens eine Vertreter von Kohlenstoffdioxid, Ameisensäure und Formaldehyd in der Metallschicht reduziert wird, an die das modifizierte organische Molekül gebunden ist.
 
12. Verwendung des chemischen Reaktors gemäß Anspruch 5 zur Reduktion von mindestens einem Vertreter von Kohlenstoffdioxid, Ameisensäure und Formaldehyd,
wobei die erste Reduktionskatalysatorschicht in eine Lösung eingetaucht wird, die den mindestens einen Vertreter von Kohlenstoffdioxid, Ameisensäure und Formaldehyd absorbiert hat, und in der Metallschicht, an die das modifizierte organische Molekül gebunden ist, der mindestens eine Vertreter von Kohlenstoffdioxid, Ameisensäure und Formaldehyd reduziert wird.
 
13. Verwendung gemäß Anspruch 12, wobei die erste Reduktionskatalysatorschicht in eine Lösung eingetaucht wird, die Kohlenstoffdioxid absorbiert hat, wobei eine Moleküldichte des modifizierten organischen Moleküls nicht weniger als 1 × 1013 Atome/cm2 beträgt und in der Metallschicht, an die das modifizierte organische Molekül gebunden ist, Kohlenstoffdioxid reduziert wird, um Essigsäure, Acetaldehyd und Ethanol herzustellen.
 
14. Verwendung gemäß Anspruch 12, wobei die erste Reduktionskatalysatorschicht in eine Lösung eingetaucht wird, die Kohlenstoffdioxid absorbiert hat, wobei eine Moleküldichte des modifizierten organischen Moleküls nicht mehr als 1 × 1011 Atome/cm2 beträgt und in der Metallschicht, an die das modifizierte organische Molekül gebunden ist, Kohlenstoffdioxid reduziert wird, um Ameisensäure, Formaldehyd und Methanol herzustellen.
 


Revendications

1. Catalyseur de réduction comprenant :

un collecteur de charge ayant une couche métallique sur une surface ; et

une molécule organique modifiée contenant un groupe fonctionnel réactif, un groupe alkyle à longue chaîne et un cation d'azote quaternaire,

dans lequel le cation d'azote quaternaire est l'un d'un cation d'alkylammonium, d'un cation de pyridinium, d'un cation de pipéridinium et d'un cation d'imidazolium,

la molécule organique modifiée est liée chimiquement à une surface de la couche métallique par le groupe fonctionnel réactif,

le groupe fonctionnel réactif est formé à une extrémité du groupe alkyle à longue chaîne, et

le cation d'azote quaternaire est formé à l'autre extrémité du groupe alkyle à longue chaîne.


 
2. Catalyseur de réduction selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la couche métallique comporte de fines particules métalliques.
 
3. Catalyseur de réduction selon la revendication 1, dans lequel une densité moléculaire de la molécule organique modifiée n'est pas inférieure à 1 x 1013 atomes/cm2.
 
4. Catalyseur de réduction selon la revendication 1, dans lequel une densité moléculaire de la molécule organique modifiée n'est pas supérieure à 1 x 1011 atomes/cm2.
 
5. Réacteur chimique comprenant :

une couche de catalyseur d'oxydation qui est capable d'oxyder de l'eau ;

une première couche de catalyseur de réduction qui comprend un collecteur de charge comprenant une couche métallique formée sur une surface de celui-ci et une molécule organique modifiée contenant un groupe fonctionnel réactif, un groupe alkyle à longue chaîne et un cation d'azote quaternaire ; et

un élément d'alimentation relié à la couche de catalyseur d'oxydation et à la première couche de catalyseur de réduction,

dans lequel le cation d'azote quaternaire est l'un d'un cation d'alkylammonium, d'un cation de pyridinium, d'un cation de pipéridinium et d'un cation d'imidazolium,

la molécule organique modifiée est liée chimiquement à une surface de la couche métallique par le groupe fonctionnel réactif,

le groupe fonctionnel réactif est formé à une extrémité du groupe alkyle à longue chaîne, et

le cation d'azote quaternaire est formé à l'autre extrémité du groupe alkyle à longue chaîne.


 
6. Réacteur chimique selon la revendication 5, dans lequel l'élément d'alimentation comprend une couche semi-conductrice qui sépare des charges avec l'énergie lumineuse.
 
7. Réacteur chimique selon la revendication 6, dans lequel la couche semi-conductrice est formée entre la couche de catalyseur d'oxydation et la première couche de catalyseur de réduction.
 
8. Réacteur chimique selon la revendication 5, dans lequel la couche métallique comporte de fines particules métalliques.
 
9. Réacteur chimique selon la revendication 5, dans lequel une densité moléculaire de la molécule organique modifiée n'est pas inférieure à 1 x 1013 atomes/cm2.
 
10. Réacteur chimique selon la revendication 5, dans lequel une densité moléculaire de la molécule organique modifiée n'est pas supérieure à 1 x 1011 atomes/cm2.
 
11. Utilisation du catalyseur de réduction selon la revendication 1 pour réduire au moins l'un d'un dioxyde de carbone, d'un acide formique et d'un formaldéhyde,
dans laquelle l'au moins un du dioxyde de carbone, de l'acide formique et du formaldéhyde est réduit dans la couche métallique à laquelle la molécule organique modifiée est liée.
 
12. Utilisation du réacteur chimique selon la revendication 5 pour réduire au moins l'un d'un dioxyde de carbone, d'un acide formique et d'un formaldéhyde,
dans laquelle la première couche de catalyseur de réduction est immergée dans une solution absorbée avec au moins l'un d'un dioxyde de carbone, d'un acide formique et d'un formaldéhyde, et dans la couche métallique à laquelle la molécule organique modifiée est liée, l'au moins un du dioxyde de carbone, de l'acide formique et du formaldéhyde est réduit.
 
13. Utilisation selon la revendication 12, dans laquelle la première couche de catalyseur de réduction est immergée dans une solution absorbée avec du dioxyde de carbone, une densité moléculaire de la molécule organique modifiée n'est pas inférieure à 1 x 1013 atomes/cm2, et dans la couche métallique à laquelle la molécule organique modifiée est liée, le dioxyde de carbone est réduit pour produire de l'acide acétique, de l'acétaldéhyde et de l'éthanol.
 
14. Utilisation selon la revendication 12, dans laquelle la première couche de catalyseur de réduction est immergée dans une solution absorbée avec du dioxyde de carbone, une densité moléculaire de la molécule organique modifiée n'est pas supérieure à 1 x 1011 atomes/cm2, et dans la couche métallique à laquelle la molécule organique modifiée est liée, le dioxyde de carbone est réduit pour produire de l'acide formique, du formaldéhyde et du méthanol.
 




Drawing





















































Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description




Non-patent literature cited in the description