Hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) and oxygen evolution reaction (OER) are two key half-reactions in electrochemical water splitting, which is an eco-friendly technology to produce hydrogen. Both of the half-reactions are limited by high overpotentials and interaction between the reactions.
Until now, electrochemical water splitting still relies on some inorganic noble-metal catalysts. Exploiting highly-efficient low-cost bifunctional electrocatalysts is a promising method to solve these issues. Thus, CarbonChem project aims at overcoming the limitation of traditional inorganic materials and re-defining the designing concept to construct organic framework electrocatalyst for HER and OER.
Owing to the high designability and porous structure, organic frameworks are considered as a reasonable alternative to construct electrocatalysts; but the low conductivity strictly restricts their utilization. Incorporation sp-hybridization of graphdiyne (GDY) into organic frameworks can overcome the bottleneck, which provides the possibility for achieving organic electrocatalysts.
As a result of single chemical composition, the active centres of GDY are consisted of unsaturated C and N sites, which are hard to provide high catalytic activities for HER and OER. Focusing on this issue, this project will give new insights on GDYs, providing a design concept for their chemical structure.
Employing conjugated porphyrin with four coordinated N sites is a new strategy for introducing metal atoms into GDYs. Constructed metalloporphyrin-based graphdiyne (MPGDY) is fully consistent with the design principle of electrocatalyst: high conductivity, effective active sites and mesoporous structure.
This research will develop an efficient bifunctional MPGDY electrocatalyst, for European hydrogen industry. The ER will achieve abundant research experience and scientific skills from the CarbonChem project and the capability to launch his own research group in future.