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Fast Molecular WOCs

Final Report Summary - FAST MOLECULAR WOCS (Fast Molecular WOCs)

Artificial photosynthesis (water splitting) is as an essential technology because it allows for the conversion of abundant solar energy and water to the carbon-neutral fuels oxygen and hydrogen. The Fast Molecular WOCs (WOC = water oxidation catalyst) project aims were to develop catalysts for the conversion water into these carbon-neutral fuels. Unfortunately, water oxidation catalysis is a vital component of water splitting, and artificial water splitting technologies have been impeded by slow WOCs. To date, an unsystematic approach to developing WOCs has been taken. No significant attention has been directed towards how the intrinsic properties of the catalyst, affect the catalytic activity. We have taken a first-principles, bottom-up approach to enhancing WOC activity. We have isolated and characterised some highly reactive oxidants that are likely intermediates in some active WOCs. We have explored the factors that affect their reactivity, and made some important discoveries into what controls the reactivity of such species.

The career-development/career integration aspects of the project have also been a success. The researcher has been well-integrated into the European research community, and is actively involved in two COST actions. Furthermore, the researcher has obtained a permanent position at the host institution and has been promoted to Associate Professor. The researcher has been awarded a European Research Council Starting Grant, and a large national grant as well. As detailed in the research dissemination section, the researcher has made high-quality and high-impact contributions to the Inorganic Chemistry community. Although the discoveries are fundamental in nature, they will contribute to our understanding of catalyst design, ultimately resulting in more efficient, more powerful, and greener (more environmentally friendly) catalysts for oxidation catalysis in the future.