CE07 - Chimie moléculaire

Selective molecular O2 reduction catalysts Toward noble metal-free H2/O2 fuel cells – Select02

Submission summary

The development of efficient noble metal-free catalysts for the O2 reduction (ORR) and the H2 oxidation (HOR) reactions is a key challenge in the energy conversion domain. Even if Fe and Co-based homogeneous catalysts with heme-type ligands have been described, the selectivity towards 4- vs 2-electron ORR is still difficult to predict.
The project aims at developing innovative Earth-abundant catalysts based on non-heminic thiolate ligands with four main objectives: (i) to design efficient and selective 4-electron ORR catalysts (H2O vs H2O2), (ii) to contribute to the full understanding of the O2 reduction process by non-heme based systems, (iii) to assemble robust molecular cathodes active in water via their immobilization on carbon nanotubes (CNTs), and (iv) to design functional noble-metal free H2/O2 fuel cells by combining these molecular ORR cathodes with optimized Ni-based molecular HOR anodes.
This project relies on solid preliminary results that include previous published work on Mn and Fe ORR catalysts, on heterogenized molecular Cu-based complexes at CNT electrode active for ORR and on Pt-free molecular H2/air fuels.
Five well-defined scientific work packages are proposed to achieve this ambitious project: WP1: Synthesis and characterization of the targeted homogeneous ORR (electro)catalysts, WP2: Synthesis and characterization of carbon nanomaterials modified with ORR catalysts, WP3: Mechanistic investigation: the O2 activation process, WP4: Homogeneous & heterogeneous ORR (electro)activity, and WP5: Pt-free fuel cell.
The consortium is formed by experts in all fields required to the full development of this multidisciplinary project under optimal conditions, including in redox bioinorganic chemistry, ORR electrocatalysis, immobilization onto carbon nanotubes, integration of molecular catalysts in fuel cell technology, theoretical modeling and spectroscopy.

Project coordination

Carole Duboc (DCM)

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.


LCBM Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives

Help of the ANR 347,434 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: January 2023 - 42 Months

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