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Single-Site Electrocatalytic Flow Reactor for C-C Coupling

Project description

Single atoms as catalysts key to sustainable reactions

Electrification of the chemical industry offers opportunities to reduce the environmental footprint of this sector. In this way, stoichiometric amounts of toxic chemical oxidants/reductants can be avoided, allowing chemical manufacturing to be powered directly by solar and wind farms, rather than thermal power plants. To achieve this objective, novel, efficient and selective electrocatalysts are key. Funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the SSEFR project will design novel, single-atom electrocatalysts that contain earth-abundant components for carbon-carbon coupling reactions under continuous-flow conditions. This will merge catalyst design with sustainable electrosynthesis, and pave the way for a greener manufacturing of chemicals and pharmaceuticals.


One of the greatest challenges of our generation is to implement sustainable and ‘energy smart’ chemical manufacturing processes. This can be accomplished via the electrification of the chemical industry, where electrons serve as a clean redox reagent to drive processes under mild conditions. This would avoid stoichiometric amounts of reagent waste from toxic chemical oxidants/reductants, and help resolve intermittency issues associated with renewables, as excess supply could be directed and stored into a stable chemical bond. However, to reach this goal, efficient and selective electrocatalysts are required. ‘Single-site catalysts’ today represent a new frontier, devised as a means to circumvent the issues regarding the non-uniformity and multi-faceted nature of conventional heterogeneous catalysts, which often experience poor selectivity towards the targeted reaction. Merging the benefits of electro- and single-site catalysis into a complete heterogeneous system is thus a highly innovative and sustainable approach towards modernising synthetic processes. In this MSCA action, I will therefore design novel, single-site, heterogeneous electrocatalysts, comprised of earth-abundant components, for conducting valorised and energy-storing C-C coupling reactions under continuous-flow conditions. In particular, my first objective will be to acquire fundamental insight into the design, development and understanding of precious-metal-free single-site electrocatalytic systems for the purposes of conducting such organic transformations. This project will then go a step further, to rationally engineer and manufacture catalytic flow reactors, in order to intensify the targeted process via the numerous benefits that flow chemistry offers in place of conventional batch electrochemical cells.


Net EU contribution
€ 171 473,28
20133 Milano

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Nord-Ovest Lombardia Milano
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 171 473,28