CORDIS - EU research results

DimerCat: Isolated dimers for catalyzing CO2 electroreduction to higher carbon products

Project description

Carbon-doped catalysts help turn CO2 gas into fuels and chemicals

For the first time in human history, CO2 levels in the atmosphere exceeded 415.26 parts per million in 2019, according to sensors at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. The electrochemical reduction of CO2 provides a potential route to removing this harmful gas from the atmosphere. The EU-funded DimerCat project will investigate carbon catalysts doped with metal dimers for the efficient conversion of CO2 into chemicals and carbon-based fuels. Carbon-based catalysts are chosen for their high selectivity towards CO formation, while the doped metal dimers are expected to favour the CO–CO coupling, leading to the formation of C2 products such as ethene. Apart from catalyst design, the project aims to overcome two other major challenges related to catalysts: their selectivity and large-scale production.


For the first time in human’s history, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere has reached the highest level of 415.26 ppm on May 11, 2019. This results in severe climatic change throughout the world. Electrochemical CO2 reduction can convert this harmful CO2 to value-added carbon-based chemicals and is a carbon-neutral method of storing renewable electricity in the form of chemicals.
This proposal aims to investigate carbon catalysts doped with metal-dimers as catalysts for CO2 reduction to higher-carbon (C2) products. Carbon-based catalysts are selected because of their high selectivity towards CO formation and the doped metal dimers are expected to favor the CO-CO coupling leading to the formation of C2 products. This would emulate the functionality of the nitrogenase enzyme, where V-V dimers are able to catalyze the formation of ethylene and other C2 products. The world-leading expertise of Prof. Magda Titirici (host) and Dr. Ifan Stephens; and the vibrant scientific community and state-of-the-art equipment at Imperial College, provide the perfect environment to successfully host my project despite its challenging nature. The deep expertise I have acquired during my Ph.D. in nanosynthesis and in-situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy of electrocatalysts would strongly complement my hosts’ expertise in carbon synthesis and operando testing. The bottleneck in the catalytic cycle will be identified and addressed. This new fundamental understanding will not only empower the scientific community but also enable the development of efficient electrocatalyst for higher-carbon product formation during CO2 reduction. Secondment will be carried out at Johnson Matthey that would allow us to scale-up the technology, developed at Imperial. Thus, the proposed project will try to solve the three major challenges of catalyst design, selectivity, and scalability and would equip me with scientific, technical and managerial skills to become a leading independent researcher.


Net EU contribution
€ 212 933,76
United Kingdom

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London Inner London — West Westminster
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 212 933,76