A research team including Tokyo Institute of Technology members has developed a photocatalyst material that can convert methane and carbon dioxide into a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide with only light irradiation.

A research paper on the development was published in the online edition of British science journal Nature Catalysis on Tuesday.

A mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide can be used in the production of fuel, so the conversion of methane and carbon dioxide, both greenhouse gases, into the useful mixture has drawn attention. But as the reaction needs heat as high as over 800 degrees Celsius, fuel consumption and deactivation of the catalyst were problematic.

The team, including Masahiro Miyauchi, a professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology, found that strontium titanate combined with rhodium nanoparticles can work as an effective photocatalyst for the conversion of methane and carbon dioxide into the useful mixture with light irradiation.

No heating is required for the reaction, while the photocatalyst is not deactivated by the reaction and can be used over a long period of time, according to the team.

The team also includes members from Shizuoka University, Kochi University of Technology and Kyushu University.

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