As the consequences of the anthropogenic contamination become more evident and irreversible, there is an increasingly urgent need to switch towards more sustainable paradigms in the chemical industry. In this context, the utilization of renewable energy sources via electrocatalysis has emerged as a highly active field of research during the past decades, although further efforts are required to provide economically viable technologies with practical applications. eCat-MOF project aims at developing efficient electrocatalysts for chemical reactions based on reductive protonation. These processes are ubiquitous to a large number of industrially relevant transformations such as reduction of olefins, carbon dioxide or dinitrogen. An electrocatalytic approach will offer a sustainable alternative to harness renewably sourced electricity to power such transformations, avoiding current harmful processes that pose important obstacles towards a circular economy. The strategy of eCat-MOF project is based on accessing concerted proton-electron transfer (CPET) reactions due to their energetic benefits allowing operation at milder potentials and thus outcompeting the otherwise dominant hydrogen evolution reaction. To this end, eCat-MOF will target the design of novel CPET mediators based on an interdisciplinary approach: incorporation of molecular redox and acid/base mediators in the structure of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) and the immobilization of the resulting materials on carbon-based electrodes. This strategy merges the fields of molecular inorganic/organometallic chemistry, reticular materials and heterogeneous electrocatalysis to overcome challenges associated to undesired bimolecular reactivity, low current density, limited Faradaic efficiency, difficult product separation and catalyst recovery. The expected implications of eCat-MOF will have a broad impact in the progress towards the integration of renewable energy schemes into the chemical industry.
Fields of science
- HORIZON.1.2 - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Main Programme