Two-step, solar-driven thermochemical fuel production offers the potential of efficient conversion of solar energy into dispatchable chemical fuel. Success relies on the availability of materials that readily undergo redox reactions in response to changes in environmental conditions. Those with a low enthalpy of reduction can typically be reduced at moderate temperatures, important for practical operation. However, easy reducibility has often been accompanied by surprisingly poor fuel production kinetics. Using the La1-xSr xMnO3 series of perovskites as an example, we show that poor fuel production rates are a direct consequence of the diminished enthalpy. Thus, material development efforts will need to balance the countering thermodynamic influences of reduction enthalpy on fuel production capacity and fuel production rate.
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