TUDelft and UvA researchers take an important step

24. 11. 2014 | Susan

TUDelft and UvA researchers take an important step in the development of visible light-driven, noble metal-free, photocatalysts for hydrogen production from water.

A collaboration between researchers from the Catalysis Engineering section (ChemE, TUDelft) and the Homogeneous, Supramolecular and Bio-Inspired catalysis group (UvA) has led to an innovative method for the efficient encapsulation of a derivative of a well-defined cobaloxime proton reduction catalyst within a photoresponsive Metal-Organic Framework. The resulting hybrid solid is demonstrated to be an efficient and fully recyclable noble metal-free catalyst system for light-driven hydrogen evolution from water under visible light illumination. This approach opens the door to the modular design of a new generation of efficient photo-catalysts and to their assembly into artificial leafs.

The efficient utilization of sunlight as an energy source for chemical transformations is one of the most important grand challenges mankind faces nowadays. Although photosynthesis is a relatively well-known process in Nature, the design and preparation of ‘artificial leaf’ materials able to emulate this natural process has proven very challenging over the last decades. Moreover, the use of earth-abundant elements in the formulation of such ‘artificial leafs’ is a must in view of ultimate scaling up and implementation targets. With their novel approach, the researchers demonstrate the possibility to assembly solid photocatalysts in a modular approach, where the different sub-units for light-harvesting, electron-transport and catalysis can be rationally put together into three-dimensional ordered solids, which exhibit very efficient utilization of light. This new approach may be applied to the design of a completely new generation of photocatalysts for diverse applications, from hydrogen generation to carbon dioxide abatement.

A detailed technical article discussing this research has been published in the last issue of Energy & Environmental Science:
M. A. Nasalevich, R. Becker, E. V. Ramos-Fernandez, S. Castellanos, S. L. Veber, M. V. Fedin, F. Kapteijn, J.N.H. Reek, J.I. van der Vlugt and J. Gascon. Co@NH2-MIL-125(Ti): Cobaloxime-derived Metal-Organic Framework-based Composite for Light-driven H2 Production. Energy & Enviromental Sci.
doi: 10.1039/C4EE02853H

The research leading to these results has received funding from The Dutch National Research School Combination Catalysis Controlled by Chemical Design (NRSC-Catalysis), the National Research Initiative BioSolarCells and the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM).