CE50 - Sciences de base pour l’Energie

Protection of O2 Sensitive Catalysts Under Reductive Conditions – PROSECCO

Submission summary

The implementation of energy conversion schemes involving dihydrogen and CO2 requires solutions that prevent the inactivation by oxygen of biological or synthetic catalysts that are based on cheap and abundant transition metals. The partners of the project have recently developed a strategy for using O2-sensitive catalysts of H2 oxidation under aerobic conditions, which consists in embedding the catalyst into a carefully designed micrometer-thick redox-polymer film supported into an electrode. They showed that self-protection occurs because in addition to catalytic hydrogen oxidation near the electrode, a fraction of the incoming H2 is catalytically oxidized near the film/solution interface to reduce the O2 molecules that penetrate the film (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 141 16734 2019). Newer results of the partners' demonstrate that a certain polymer design allows H2 oxidation and production to occur in the same film (Nature Catalysis 4 251 2021). This new result opens the possibility for a distinct protection concept, explored in PROSECCO, which should allow the protection of O2-sensitive catalysts under reductive conditions (e.g. for catalytic H2 evolution or CO2 reduction). This new protection mechanism requires that a fraction of the H2 that is catalytically produced near the electrode is reoxidized near the film/solution interface to eliminate the O2 molecules that attempt to penetrate the film. We will explore this protection strategy in the project, after having screened and optimized polymers and metalloenzymes that transform H2 or CO2 (task 1), and developed the kinetic models of bidirectional mediated catalysis in thin films in the absence of O2 (task 2). In task 3 we will explore the effect of O2 both experimentally and theoretically, using fragile but very efficient biological bidirectional catalysts of H2 production and CO2 reduction. We will use an approach that combines the expertise of the two partners in biochemistry (production and optimization of metalloenzymes), synthetic chemistry (redox polymers and dendrimers), physical chemistry (electrochemical characterization of the redox films) and modelisation (numerical and analytical and resolution of reaction-diffusion systems). Task 2 will deliver a very important and general piece of knowledge for the electrochemistry and catalysis scientific communities, which appears to be very timely when one considers the current interest in reversible catalysis (Fourmond et al, Nat. Rev. Chem. in press 2021). The results of Task 3 will also be useful and general, since we anticipate that the new protection strategy will prove operational for enzymes but also for O2-sensitive synthetic inorganic catalysts of very important reactions in the context of environment and energy.

Project coordination

Christophe LEGER (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Délégation Provence et Corse_Bioénergétique et ingénierie des protéines)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


TUM Technical University Munich / Professorship for Electrobiotechnology
CNRS DR12_BIP Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Délégation Provence et Corse_Bioénergétique et ingénierie des protéines

Help of the ANR 398,303 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: March 2022 - 36 Months

Useful links

Explorez notre base de projets financés



ANR makes available its datasets on funded projects, click here to find more.

Sign up for the latest news:
Subscribe to our newsletter