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Atomic-Scale Tailored Materials for Electrochemical Methane Activation and Production of Valuable Chemicals


Electrochemical methane activation and direct conversion to methanol is highly attractive – a dream reaction that would convert a greenhouse gas into a valuable liquid fuel in a dream device, on-site, and powered by renewable electricity. However, sustainable C-H activation and direct methane to methanol conversion at ambient conditions remain as great fundamental challenges.
My aim with ATOMISTIC is: (i) to develop new methods for electrochemical methane activation and partial oxidation, (ii) to control the structure of the electrochemical interface and the catalytically active site, in order to tune selectivity for the synthesis of valuable fuels and chemicals (such as methanol) from methane, and dimethyl carbonate from methanol. I will use 3 main strategies:
- To establish the ideal structures and electrolytes, using well-defined tailored materials that enable methane activation by its direct adsorption on the electrode material.
- To realise advanced materials that enable the indirect electrochemical activation of methane through the generation of solution phase radicals.
- To tailor the active site at the atomic level for selective methane to methanol and methanol to dimethyl carbonate oxidation reactions on functional materials.
I will elucidate the design principles and unveil the structure-reactivity-selectivity relations and the molecular mechanisms of these reactions as well as the atomic-scale structure of the catalyst materials. I will achieve these ambitious goals by leveraging my work combining the insight from model studies with experiments under realistic conditions to discover new materials. I will combine electrochemical methods, electrochemical scanning probe microscopy, in situ optical spectroscopy, online mass spectrometry and operando synchrotron-based x-ray techniques. The success of ATOMISTIC will result in significant breakthroughs in the fields of chemistry and catalysis, opening up new sustainable ways to produce valuable chemicals.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 999 774,00
Campus De La Uab Edifici Q Icn2
08193 Bellaterra (Barcelona)

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Este Cataluña Barcelona
Activity type
Research Organisations
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00