Ultrabroadband plasmon driving selective photoreforming of methanol under ambient conditions

Nasir Uddin, Zhehao Sun, Julien Langley, Haijiao Lu, Pengfei Cao*, Ary Wibowo, Xinmao Yin, Chi Sin Tang, Hieu T. Nguyen, Nicholas Cox, Zongyou Yin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Liquid methanol has the potential to be the hydrogen energy carrier and storage medium for the future green economy. However, there are still many challenges before zero-emission, affordable molecular H2 can be extracted from methanol with high performance. Here, we present noble-metal-free Cu–WC/W plasmonic nanohybrids which exhibit unsurpassed solar H2 extraction efficiency from pure methanol of 2,176.7 µmol g−1 h−1 at room temperature and normal pressure. Macro-to-micro experiments and simulations unveil that local reaction microenvironments are generated by the coperturbation of WC/W’s lattice strain and infrared-plasmonic electric field. It enables spontaneous but selective zero-emission reaction pathways. Such microenvironments are found to be highly cooperative with solar-broadband-plasmon-excited charge carriers flowing from Cu to WC surfaces for efficient stable CH3OH plasmonic reforming with C3-dominated liquid products and 100% selective gaseous H2. Such high efficiency, without any COx emission, can be sustained for over a thousand-hour operation without obvious degradation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2212075120
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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