Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Visible-Light Photoredox Catalysis: Selective Reduction of Carbon Dioxide to Carbon Monoxide by a Nickel N-Heterocyclic Carbene-Isoquinoline Complex
- Author(s): Thoi, VanSara
- Kornienko, Nick
- Margarit, C
- Yang, Peidong
- Chang, Christopher
- et al.
The solar-driven reduction of carbon dioxide to value-added chemical fuels is a longstanding challenge in the fields of catalysis, energy science, and green chemistry. In order to develop effective CO2 fixation, several key considerations must be balanced, including (1) catalyst selectivity for promoting CO2 reduction over competing hydrogen generation from proton reduction, (2) visible-light harvesting that matches the solar spectrum, and (3) the use of cheap and earth-abundant catalytic components. In this report, we present the synthesis and characterization of a new family of earth-abundant nickel complexes supported by N-heterocyclic carbene amine ligands that exhibit high selectivity and activity for the electrocatalytic and photocatalytic conversion of CO2 to CO. Systematic changes in the carbene and amine donors of the ligand have been surveyed, and [Ni(Prbimiq1)]2+ (1c, where Prbimiq1 = bis(3-(imidazolyl)isoquinolinyl)propane) emerges as a catalyst for electrochemical reduction of CO2 with the lowest cathodic onset potential (Ecat = 1.2 V vs SCE). Using this earth-abundant catalyst with Ir(ppy)3 (where ppy = 2-phenylpyridine) and an electron donor, we have developed a visible-light photoredox system for the catalytic conversion of CO2 to CO that proceeds with high selectivity and activity and achieves turnover numbers and turnover frequencies reaching 98,000 and 3.9 s1, respectively. Further studies reveal that the overall efficiency of this solar-to-fuel cycle may be limited by the formation of the active Ni catalyst and/or the chemical reduction of CO2 to CO at the reduced nickel center and provide a starting point for improved photoredox systems for sustainable carbon-neutral energy conversion.