Powering the Carbon-Neutral Energy Cycle: Energy-Efficient Catalysts for CO2 Reduction

PIs:  Professor Katherine Mirica, Chemistry, and Professor Weiyang Li, Thayer School of Engineering

January 2019 Award Recipient

Project Abstract

Energy-efficient reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) to hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide (CO) is an important avenue towards carbon neutral economy. Although progress has been made in the catalytic reduction of CO2 by molecular and noble metal catalysts, outstanding challenges remain in achieving catalytic reduction with high energetic efficiency, fast electron transfer kinetics, high selectivity for desired products, and long-term catalyst stability. The goal of this project is to develop novel nanomaterials capable of promoting electrocatalytic and photocatalytic reduction of CO2 to CO and hydrocarbons with unprecedented energy-efficiency and selectivity. The molecular design features conductive, porous, bimetallic metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) that permit the modulation of the efficiency and selectivity for CO2 reduction with atomic precision. The outcome of this research will produce access to novel MOFs with superior CO2 reduction performance over existing materials. Conceptual and technological advances emerging from this work will be applicable to promoting carbon-neutral economy, and may also find applications in chemical sensing, monitoring of environmental pollution, and electrochemical energy storage and conversion.