Methane exists abundantly around Japan as methane hydrate. As the effective use of such methane, the conversion of methane into methanol has recently attracted much attention. Photocatalytic reaction is one of the methods which convert methane into methanol without using much energy. However, it is indispensable to improve the photocatalytic activity for their practical use. Our group has attempted to improve the activity of mesoporous tungsten trioxide and titanium dioxide (m-WO3 and m-TiO2) photocatalysts, which convert methane into methanol, by loading the ultrafine metal clusters as cocatalyst on the photocatalysts. As a result, we have succeeded in loading ultrafine metal-cluster cocatalysts onto m-WO3 and m-TiO2 and thereby improving their photocatalytic activity. Our study also demonstrated that the kind of metal element suitable for each photocatalyst depends on the kind of the photocatalysts, and thereby it is important to select the metal clusters suitable for each photocatalyst for improving its photocatalytic activity.
Part of the book: Concepts of Semiconductor Photocatalysis