Jeffrey J. Warren and his research group want to develop new technologies that can be used to store energy from sunlight in the form of chemical bonds.
One strategy is to ‘split’ water into dihydrogen and dioxygen – although it is difficult to
find a hydrogen filling station. Warren is also interested in converting carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide. The latter product can be combined with dihydrogen to produce hydrocarbon (gasoline) fuel, which can be delivered to existing gas stations. In order to carry out this cascade of reactions, Warren’s student colleagues are developing materials to be used in electrochemical devices. Many of these are inspired by nature’s ability to carry out related chemistry. For example, the group is actively investigating porphyrin-based catalysts, derived from natural heme molecules.
Sinha, A. et al. “Electrocatalytic dioxygen reduction by carbon electrodes non-covalently modified with iron-porphyrin complexes: enhancements from a single proton relay.” Chem. Eur. J. (2015): 18072–18075.
Husband, J. et al. “Catalytic reduction of dioxygen with modified Thermus thermophilus cytochrome c552.” J. Inorg. Biochem 157 (2016): 8–14.
Warren, J.J., and J.M. Mayer. “Moving Protons and Electrons in Biomimetic Systems.” Biochemistry 54 (2015): 1863–1878.