From Molecular Complexes to Hybrid Systems for Solar Fuels and Chemicals


Dr. Carla Casadevall

Title: From molecular complexes to hybrid systems for solar fuels and chemicals.
When: 12:30 CET, Thursday, February 8th, 2024.
Place: Sala de Grados, Module 8, Faculty of Sciences, Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM).
Speaker: Dr. Carla Casadevall, Department of Physical and Inorganic Chemistry, University Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona (Spain).

The sustainable synthesis of fuels and chemicals using sunlight as driving force and simple readily available feedstock such as H2O and waste CO2 provides a potential feasible pathway to mitigate increasing CO2 emissions and transitioning toward a greener chemical industry. In this context, natural photosynthesis is a source of inspiration and has led to the evolving and multidisciplinary field of artificial photosynthesis (AP). AP is a forefront technology aiming at producing fuels and chemicals in a sustainable manner using the simplest building blocks (i.e., H2O, CO2, N2) and sunlight as driving force1-4. Over the last years, we have worked with several systems, ranging from homogeneous, heterogenous, biocatalysts and hybrid materials, to study different half reactions involved in AP. This has given us a broad perspective of the field and the different approaches to study this process and develop efficient catalytic systems.
In this regard, when designing bioinspired photocatalytic platforms for AP, the role of natural membranes is sometimes overlooked. Our research group is currently working towards studying this key structural factor of natural photosynthesis. We are working in the development of polymeric microphotoreactors functionalized with (photo)catalysts to produce solar fuels and chemicals, while driving new conceptual development in solar-fuels and chemicals production schemes. Our goal is to construct a modular set of semiartificial polymer-based vesicles (polymersomes) by the assembly of selected catalyst-functionalized and nonfunctionalized block copolymers to ultimately drive the electrons from the oxidation of water to the reduction of CO2-to-carbon-based fuels and chemicals in aqueous media using solar energy as driving force5.

1. Das Neves Gomes C., et al. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2012, 51, 187-190.
2. Boutin E., et al. Chem. Soc. Rev. 2020, 49, 5772-5809.
3. Pannwitz A., et al. Chem. Soc. Rev. 2021, 50, 4833-4855.
4. Velasco-Garcia, L.; Casadevall, C. Chem. Commun. 2023. Accepted article.
5. Velasco-Garcia, L.; Casadevall, C. Unpublished results.

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