CADICAT – CArbon DIoxide CATalysis

The title CADICAT covers projects done in the CADICAT Open Science Community. CADICAT projects focus on the research within carbon dioxide catalysis. Everyone is invited to join the Open Science Community and participate in the relevant discussions of cases, science and results found on the Open Science Framework.

High-pressure electrochemical CO2 reduction

Student(s): Simin Li, Federica Proietto

Project description: Electrochemical reduction of CO2 to valuable chemicals has been intensively studied in recent years. Previous studies have been mainly performed under ambient pressure where CO2 solubility is low in the electrolyte, especially in water. This limits the current density to a low range that is not applicable for industrial applications. Applying a high pressure would be a promising way to increase the solubility of CO2 in the electrolyte and thus increase both the current density and the selectivity for CO2 reduction. In this project, we will develop an electrolysis setup where CO2 reduction can be studied under high pressure. The starting point is will be using single metal atom catalysts to catalyze CO2 reduction to CO in aqueous media

Aim/Hypothesis: To develop high pressure setup for CO2 reduction and study the pressure effect.

Method: 1) Develop single iron and nickel atom catalysts supported in carbon materials by high-temperature pyrolysis. 2) Design and make the electrochemical setup that can be used for high pressure electrolysis. 3) Study the pressure effect on CO2 reduction.

(Potentially) Involved Partners: Aarhus University, Università degli Studi di Palermo, an industry partner?


Solvent effect on the heterogenized molecular catalysts for CO2 electroreduction

Student(s): Xiaoyu Chen, Xinming Hu

Project description: Molecular catalysts (i.e. cobalt porphyrin/phthalocyanine) supported on carbon materials have shown high activity and selectivity for electrochemical CO2 reduction to CO. However, the process of how molecular catalysts are immobilized on various carbon materials has not been studied, which hinders the discovery of the most active catalyst system for CO2 reduction. In this project, we will study the effect of various solvents on the dispersion and immobilization of cobalt porphyrin on various carbon materials, and thereby study such effect on the catalytic activity of the heterogenized cobalt porphyrin for CO2 reduction, both experimentally and computationally.

Aim/Hypothesis: To study the effect of solvents on the heterogenization of molecular catalysts on carbon materials, and their effects on the activity for electrochemical reduction.

Method: 1) To use various solvents (DMF, acetonitrile, etc.) to disperse molecular catalysts and carbon materials to obtain the hybrid catalysts, which are tested for CO2 reduction. 2) To compute how molecular catalysts and carbon materials are dispersed in these solvents and how molecular catalysts are dispersed on the surface of carbon materials.

Involved Partners: Aarhus University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology,


Access to ethylene glycol from CO2

Student(s): Joakim Jakobsen, Dennis Ulsøe Nielsen

Project description: Ethylene glycol is one of the most used monomers in the polymer industry as the polymer can be used in a large variety of processes. In order to meet the high demands for this valuable polymer, low-cost routes towards the formation of the monomer are highly desirable. In this project, we will study whether CO2 can be converted to different precursors, namely glyoxalic acid or glycolic acid, as these can be transformed into ethylene glycol.

Aim/Hypothesis: To develop an efficient metal catalyzed methodology for converting CO2 to ethylene glycol.

Method: As this project will utilize gasses, GC-MS will be employed to monitor the formation of CO in the semi-reduction of CO2 in Route B. The formation of glyoxalic acid, glycolic acid and ethylene glycol will be deduced from using 1H NMR. Both routes depicted below will require ligand design to enable the desired metal-catalyzed transformation. This will be conducted by computer-assisted calculations from our collaborators from KAIST.

Perspectives: As stated above the polymer of ethylene glycol has vast applications and therefore lowering the cost of the building blocks should have a great impact on an industrial level.

(Potentially) Involved Partners: Aarhus University, KAIST, Haldor Topsøe