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MagnifiCOF - Shaping Covalent Organic Frameworks for Industrial Applications

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MagnifiCOF (MagnifiCOF - Shaping Covalent Organic Frameworks for Industrial Applications)

Reporting period: 2021-01-01 to 2022-06-30

Porous materials are important in established processes such as catalysis and molecular separations and in emerging technologies for energy and health. Among these, covalent organic frameworks (COFs) have shown a lot of potential as materials for gas separation and storage, liquid filtration and purification, heterogenous catalysis, sensing, electronics and, energy conversion and storage applications. However, the lack of processability makes it difficult to translate the advantageous properties of COFs into industrial applications. In MagnifiCOF, we will develop a unique technology to make COFs suitable for industrial use, by putting in practice part of the knowledge and expertise gathered in the FET-Open project 2D-INK.

The three main objectives of MagnifiCOF’s project are:
1. Test and validate MagnifiCOF’s fabrication approach to establish how evaporation variables (time, temperature, pressure) correlate with the morphology and performance of the resulting pellets that will be benchmarked against the powdered material.
2. Design and implement a market analysis based on the performance parameters obtained from the validation tests.
3. Optimise methodology to conceive a primary commercial product with optimum performance at minimum cost, by controlling fabrication costs and time.
The work carried out within MagnifiCOF project is in line with the Annex 1 to the GA. MagnifiCOF researchers have developed a methodology to produce pellets with different shapes from three different COF materials through a straightforward methodology. The development of this approach has required from the synthesis of new building blocks, the development of optimal reaction conditions for the formation of COFs with different linkers, establishing fundamental reaction mechanisms that govern polymerization of COFs, and the development of techniques that allow the characterization of the different COF materials.

For investigating the COFs developed during 2D-INK, several building blocks have been synthesized by the Mateo-Alonso group members and made available for the project. These include building blocks equipped with amines and with aldehydes that can be interexchanged to produce COFs with different lattices.

From the above-mentioned building blocks we have synthesised several pyrazine-type COFs that have proven to be soluble and also some new pyrazine COFs. However, the solubility of these COFs was not sufficiently high for the pelletization studies. For this reason the synthesis of COFs directly in ice buckets have been investigated.

The development of a methodology to produce pellets with different shapes from three different COF materials has required from the synthesis of new building blocks, the development of optimal reaction conditions for the formation of COFs with different linkers, establishing fundamental reaction mechanisms that govern polymerization of COFs, and the development of techniques that allow the characterization of the different COF materials. All these developments are intimately interconnected with MagnifiCOF activities and have resulted so far in (11 articles) in high impact journals (i.e. Nature, Angewandte Chemie, JACS, Nanoscale, Chem. Eur. J. and J. Org. Chem.). Many of these articles have received a lot of attention in social networks (altmetric for each article is indicated) and have been highlighted in other journals or in different news outlets (links have been provided).

In terms of exploitation of results, MagnifiCOF’s pellets have been tested and their performance have been benchmarked versus powdered materials. As part of the in-depth intellectual property analysis, we have validated the optimal conditions for the preparation of pellets to ensure an optimal reproducibility. The properties of the pellets show promising results in terms of synthesis and processability, yet they are not able to compete with polycrystalline powders and hence require further optimization. As the materials need additional optimization a commercialization strategy has not yet been planned.
The work carried out within MagnifiCOF project is in line with the Annex 1 to the GA. MagnifiCOF researchers have developed a methodology to produce pellets with different shapes from three different COF materials through a straightforward methodology. The development of this approach has required from the synthesis of new building blocks, the development of optimal reaction conditions for the formation of COFs with different linkers, establishing fundamental reaction mechanisms that govern polymerization of COFs, and the development of techniques that allow the characterization of the different COF materials.

MagnifiCOF has contributed to the expected impacts set out in the FETOPEN-03-2018-2019-2020 FET Innovation Launchpad call since MagnifiCOF is an archetype on an individual action that focus on the non-scientific aspects and the early stages of a result of a recently finished FET-Open project (COF dispersions) into a genuine innovation (COF pellets) with potential economic impact. In terms of economic impact, COFs represent alternative porous materials with tunable properties which can be implemented in liquid-deposition methods for low-cost applications.

Besides of technological advances of MagnifiCOF, its effects will have an important transformational impact in terms of long-lasting changes on society, as the development of new porous materials will fulfil new ideas, which will introduce new products in the market and new opportunities for skilled workers. Therefore, MagnifiCOF will seed future growth and the creation of jobs from the knowledge gathered from both FET projects (2D-INK and MagnifiCOF).
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