While anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions present a daunting societal challenge with respect to climate change, concentrated CO2 sources also afford an attractive CO2-recycling opportunity. In the Thevenon Research Group, we are interested in developing efficient methodologies to transform CO2 into value-added products using well-defined thermo- and electrocatalysts.

Electrocatalysts for the CO2-to-fuels conversion

The electrochemical carbon dioxide reduction reaction (CO2RR) is a catalytic process by which CO2-recycling can be driven via renewably derived electricity, hence affording a pathway toward zero- or low-carbon chemical/fuel feedstocks. However, the mechanistic landscape of the CO2RR is complex and competing proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET) pathways occur simultaneously; the control of product selectivity remains a central issue. In our group, we aim to develop efficient and well-defined electrocatalysts for the selective CO2-to-chemical/fuel conversion. We are using a combination of mechanistic studies and in-situ measurements to shed light on key parameters that dictate the selectivity profile of the CO2RR to develop more performant electrocatalysts.

Thermocatalysts for CO2-based polymerization reactions

Nature exerts exquisite sequence control in the preparation of structurally diverse and complex biopolymers. In contrast, controlling copolymer composition from monomer mixtures in synthetic chemistry remains a challenge. We are aiming to fill that gap by developing new methodologies to control monomer enchainment using homogeneous metal catalysts. We are especially interested in designing efficient polymerization catalysts capable of incorporating CO2 into the polymer backbone. Through a combination of rational ligand design, structure/activity relationship, mechanistic and kinetic studies, polymer characterizations and computational chemistry we want to get more insight in factors controlling monomer enchainment.