A Fast Soluble Carbon-Free Molecular Water Oxidation Catalyst Based on Abundant Metals

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Science  16 Apr 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5976, pp. 342-345
DOI: 10.1126/science.1185372

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Bulking Up Water Oxidation

Storing solar energy by water oxidation, in a process akin to photosynthesis, is a promising approach for building a renewable energy infrastructure. Unfortunately, many of the most active synthetic catalysts for this process fall prey to degradation by the generated oxygen. Yin et al. (p. 342, published online 11 March; see the Perspective by Hurst) used bulky polyoxometalate ligands to protect a catalytic cobalt center from this fate. The full complex was easily prepared by mixing proper ratios of inexpensive tungsten, cobalt, and phosphate salts in boiling water. After isolating and redissolving the catalyst in slightly basic aqueous solution, rapid oxygen generation was observed with a ruthenium-based oxidant.