Nano and Interfacial Catalysis Group

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【Forum for Basic Studies on Energy】(28)
2022-07-14 14:26:54

Heterogenized Molecular Catalyst Materials for Electrochemical Carbon Dioxide and Nitrate Conversion

Prof. Hailiang Wang

Department of Chemistry, Yale University


Sustainable energy utilization and carbon emission reduction are critical challenges for the world. Solving these challenges requires precise control of many important chemical reactions with sluggish kinetics and myriad possible reaction pathways and associated products. There is a critical need for selective, active, durable and low-cost catalysts. This talk presents our research efforts aimed at bridging the gap between homogenous catalysis and heterogeneous catalysis to realize materials with new or improved electrocatalytic properties for the carbon dioxide and nitrate reduction reactions. Combining molecule-nanocarbon hybridization and second-coordination-sphere tailoring, we discovered the first molecular electrocatalyst for CO2-to-methanol conversion in significant yield and stability. The reduction proceeds via formaldehyde, an intermediate potentially reactive to N nucleophiles. Following this path, we developed the first electrosynthesis of methylamine from CO2 and nitrate. This 15-proton 14-electron reduction reaction proceeds via an 8-step catalytic cascade with the spontaneous condensation reaction between the formaldehyde and hydroxylamine intermediates to form the C-N bond. Further, we advanced the chemistry to ethylamine formation and N-methylation reactions, opening the door for our electrocatalytic reactions to be used for organic synthesis using CO2/nitrate as a C1/N1 building block.


Hailiang Wang is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Yale University. He is also a faculty member of the Energy Sciences Institute on Yale West Campus. Prior to joining Yale in 2014, he was a Philomathia Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Chemistry at University of California, Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford University in 2012 and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a double major degree in economics from Peking University in 2007. His research develops catalyst materials and catalytic processes for energy and environmental applications guided by fundamental structure-reactivity correlation studies. His academic honors include the NSF Career Award, the Sloan Research Fellowship, and Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher (2016-2021).

Time:9:00 a. m.

Date: July 15, 2022

Tencent meeting:726-753-620

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