Covalent Organic Frameworks: Electrodes for Photoelectrocatalytic Conversion of Carbon Dioxide and VOCs into Ecofriendly Fuels

01 November 2020 → Ongoing
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Surface and interface chemistry
    • Catalysis
    • Environmental chemistry
  • Engineering and technology
    • Hybrid composites
Covalent organic framework binder-less electrode photoelectrocatalysis
Project description

The two biggest challenges of the 21st century are: i) air pollution and global warming, and ii) seeking alternative energy sources. To address both these issues, we plan to combine air-treatment with generation of green energy/chemicals as end products, using solar power. In particular, we will focus on photoelectrocatalytic decomposition of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and CO2 to produce hydrogen and formic acid respectively. The efficiency of these reactions is limited with conventionally used aqueous phase with TiO2 or noble metal-based electrodes. We propose to overcome these issues by running a gas phase photoelectrocatalytic cell by metal-free, highly porous and electrochemically stable photoelectrodes. In that context, we will explore the possibility of using Covalent Organic Frameworks (COF) as photoelectrodes. Apart from their high surface area and tunable bandgap, the metal-free COFs are cheap and devoid of leaching. However, their low electrical conductivity presents a hurdle. Here, we will focus on enhancing the optical and electrical conductivity of COFs simultaneously by synthesizing highly conjugated COFs and growing them on carbon fibre cloth (CFC) as binder-free COF-CFC hybrid electrodes. Combining the expertise and facilities of COMOC (UGent) and DuEL groups (UAntwerpen), we plan to optimize the photoelectrochemical reactions with COF-based electrodes. Such optimizations will facilitate the future adoption of our work in a larger industrial setting.