Tuning the Molecular Design of Porous Electrodes for Selective CO2 Reduction into Fuels

Project Team

  • Katherine Mirica, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
  • Weiyang (Fiona) Li, Assistant Professor of Engineering 

Project Abstract

 While the combustion of hydrocarbons largely sustains current energy systems, dwindling natural resources and carbon dioxide (CO2) production threaten the sustainability of this approach. This threat drives the urgent need for a carbon-neutral energy economy that can be realized by converting CO2 back into hydrocarbons or other economically valuable chemicals. 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, long-term catalyst stability, using earth-abundant resources. This proposal focuses on the development and fundamental understanding of novel nanomaterials capable of promoting electrocatalytic and photocatalytic reduction of CO2 to fuels 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.