News & Events

Fast CO2 Conversion by Molecular Electrocatalysts

Wednesday, March 2, 2022 - 17:00 to 18:00
Shao Ren
Department of Chemistry, University of British Columbia
Event Category: 
IDG - Inorganic Discussion Group
Curtis Berlinguette
Chemistry D300

IDG seminars will be held in D300 and also available on zoom this term. Please contact for zoom details.

CO2 reduction in electrolysers is a promising method to produce carbon-neutral chemicals and fuels. A significant challenge for commercializing this technology is the development of durable and efficient catalysts that selectively generate a single product. Molecular electrocatalysts can potentially mitigate this challenge because of the acute synthetic control over the electronic environment of the active site. These catalysts, however, are typically tested at rates and voltages orders of magnitude lower than what is required for industrial operation. In this presentation, we address this issue by demonstrating that a cobalt molecular catalyst can mediate fast, selective CO2-to-CO conversion in a flow reactor. We used operando Raman spectroscopy to determine the active species and reaction mechanism, and construct the structure-property relationships. To leverage these mechanistic insights, we improved our molecular catalyst by synthetically modifying the electronic structure of the active site. Our approach of mechanism-driven catalyst design bridges the gap between traditional electrocatalysis research and industrially relevant systems.