Stepping into Catalysis: Kinetic and Mechanistic Investigations of Photo- and Electrocatalytic Hydrogen Production with Natural and Synthetic Molecular Catalysts
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
In light of its rapidly growing energy demand, human society has an urgent need to become much more strongly reliant on renewable and sustainable energy carriers. Molecular hydrogen made from water with solar energy could provide an ideal case. The development of inexpensive, robust and rare element free catalysts is crucial for this technology to succeed. Enzymes in nature can give us ideas about what such catalysts could look like, but for the directed adjustment of any natural or synthetic catalyst to the requirements of large scale catalysis, its capabilities and limitations need to be understood on the level of individual reaction steps. This thesis deals with kinetic and mechanistic investigations of photo- and electrocatalytic hydrogen production with natural and synthetic molecular catalysts. Photochemical hydrogen production can be achieved with both E. coli Hyd-2 [NiFe] hydrogenase and a synthetic dinuclear [FeFe] hydrogenase active site model by ruthenium polypyridyl photosensitization. The overall quantum yields are on the order of several percent. Transient UV-Vis absorption experiments reveal that these yields are strongly controlled by the competition of charge recombination reactions with catalysis. With the hydrogenase major electron losses occur at the stage of enzyme reduction by the reduced photosensitizer. In contrast, catalyst reduction is very efficient in case of the synthetic dinuclear active site model. Here, losses presumably occur at the stage of reduced catalyst intermediates. Moreover, the synthetic catalyst is prone to structural changes induced by competing ligands such as secondary amines or DMF, which lead to catalytically active, potentially mononuclear, species. Investigations of electrocatalytic hydrogen production with a mononuclear catalyst by cyclic voltammetry provide detailed kinetic and mechanistic information on the catalyst itself. By extension of existing theory, it is possible to distinguish between alternative catalytic pathways and to extract rate constants for individual steps of catalysis. The equilibrium constant for catalyst protonation can be determined, and limits can be set on both the protonation and deprotonation rate constant. Hydrogen bond formation likely involves two catalyst molecules, and even the second order rate constant characterizing hydrogen bond formation and/or release can be determined.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2013. , 88 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1040
Artificial photosynthesis, photocatalysis, electrocatalysis, hydrogen production, proton reduction, hydrogenase, iron complex, active site model, catalytic mechanism, transient absorption, spectroscopy, electrochemistry, cyclic voltammetry
Research subject Chemistry with specialization in Chemical Physics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-197946ISBN: 978-91-554-8658-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-197946DiVA: diva2:615823
2013-06-01, Polhemsalen, Ångströmlaboratoriet, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala, 09:59 (English)
Kubiak, Clifford, Professor
Hammarström, Leif, ProfessorLomoth, Reiner, Associate Professor
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