Porous Bio-inspired Electrode Functionalised with Molecular Complexes for Catalytic Carbon Dioxide Reduction

Student thesis: Doc typesDoctor of Sciences


In the last few decades, global warming, mostly coming from fossil sources and the increased energy demand, brings us to an urgent need to develop novel, “clean”, and sustainable energies. One of the most promising ways is the storage of solar energy into chemical bonds. In this context, the route of the electroreduction of CO2 into high-added-value products using solar energy has received increasing attention from the scientific community. This research is carried out within the European School on Artificial Leaves – Electrodes & Devices (eSCALED) project in the frame of the electrochemical reduction of CO2, involving the design of electrocatalyst that can efficiently reduce CO2 to valuable chemicals as feedstock by taking inspiration from natural photosynthesis. In the literature, the heterogenisation of molecular complexes into conductive supports has lately attracted attention because of their efficiency, stability and improvement in the heterogeneous phase. However, mass transfer is still one of the main issues and challenges to overcome, along with selectivity in aqueous
media and the use of earth-abundant elements.
Different bio-inspired hierarchical porous materials are developed and their ability to host and tune the activity of molecular complexes is discussed. Heterogenised molecular complexes on the hierarchical porous substrate are tested for electro and photocatalytic CO2 reduction. The efficiency in aqueous media was improved by developing solid-state poly-ionic liquids (PILs).
Finally, the Life-cycle assessment (LCA) of the CO2 reduction part is evaluated to determine the environmental impact.
Date of Award14 Dec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Namur
SponsorsEuropean Commission & University of Namur
SupervisorBAO LIAN SU (Supervisor), Laurent Billon (Co-Supervisor), Catherine Michaux (President), Luca Fusaro (Jury), Yann Garcia (Jury), Marc Fontecave (Jury) & Raffaella Buonsanti (Jury)


  • Hierarchical material
  • carbon supports
  • MOF
  • TiO2
  • CO2 reduction
  • heterogeneous
  • electrocatalysis
  • Re
  • Rh
  • ILs
  • PILs
  • Microgel
  • LCA

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