Carbon dioxide hydrogenation products such as formate and methanol can be used as part of a solar energy storage system. Hydrogen fuel can be generated through solar water splitting but is difficult to transport. However, hydrogenating CO2 to C1 products provides an easily transportable liquid-phase hydrogen storage medium that can be reversibly dehydrogenated to release H2 on-site. Preliminary results show that a molecular catalyst developed in the Cossairt lab with a bis-(N-heterocyclic carbene)phosphine ligand with two protic N-heterocyclic carbene (PNHC) wing-tips coordinated to a ruthenium(II) metal center can hydrogenate CO2 to produce formate and methanol under high pressure and temperature conditions, as well as dehydrogenate formate to form an activated CO2 carbamate which produces H2 gas. During this award period, I expect to optimize the reactivity of the catalyst by modifying the ligands and reaction conditions, as well as study the mechanism of CO2 reduction in this system.
Advisor: Brandi Cossairt – Chemistry