New porous functional materials for photo and electrochemical devices

Student thesis: Doc typesDoctor of Sciences

Abstract

The accumulation of carbon dioxide with anthropogenic origin in the atmosphere has resulted in a climate change that threatens humanity and the planet itself. The uncertainty about the existence of unrecoverable resources, such as fossil fuels, brings the need for researchers to develop sustainable technologies based on renewable energy sources towards carbon-neutrality. Artificial photosynthesis presents great opportunities to convert solar energy, H2O and CO2 to “solar fuels” or other stable products with important value for industry. In this context, this thesis was performed under the frame of the eSCALED (European SChool on Artificial Leaf: Electrodes and Devices) project, a contribution to the structure of early-stage research training at the European level and strengthening European innovation capacity to elaborate an artificial leaf device as a response to climate change. Like a leaf in nature, eSCALED proposes to elaborate an artificial photosynthesis device capable of harvesting solar energy and storing it as molecules (solar fuels). The proposed device should combine a solar cell with a bio-inspired electrochemical stack where H2O oxidation and H+/CO2 reduction are performed in microporous electrodes, mimicking the chloroplasts of a plant. Apart from promoting inter and multi-disciplinary research and formation on biological/biochemical, inorganic and soft matter, device engineering, and innovation, eSCALED targets the use of easy, cheap, and up-scalable processes based on organic and earth-abundant materials. The works described in this thesis focus on the synthesis, characterization, and up-scaling of microporous polymer electrodes decorated with heterogeneous H+/CO2 reduction catalysts as a contribution to the eSCALED demonstrator devices. For this purpose, we worked on an innovative cathode architecture in a multi-disciplinary approach, merging the fields of polymers’ chemistry and physical chemistry, hierarchically porous organic and inorganic materials, molecular catalysis, and printed electronics.
Date of Award14 Nov 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Namur
  • Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour
SponsorsEuropean Commission & Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
SupervisorBAO LIAN SU (Supervisor), Stéphanie Reynaud (Supervisor), Cláudia Delgado Simão (Co-Supervisor) & Catherine Michaux (Jury)

Keywords

  • electrolysis
  • CO2 reduction
  • artificial photosynthesis
  • polymer chemistry
  • printed electronics
  • green hydrogen

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