Covalent organic frameworks comprising cobalt porphyrins for catalytic CO2 reduction in water

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Science  11 Sep 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6253, pp. 1208-1213
DOI: 10.1126/science.aac8343

Improving cobalt catalysts

Tethering molecular catalysts together is a tried and trusted method for making them easier to purify and reuse. Lin et al. now show that the assembly of a covalent organic framework (COF) structure can also improve fundamental catalytic performance. They used cobalt porphyrin complexes as building blocks for a COF. The resulting material showed greatly enhanced activity for the aqueous electrochemical reduction of CO2 to CO.

Science, this issue p. 1208


Conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) to carbon monoxide (CO) and other value-added carbon products is an important challenge for clean energy research. Here we report modular optimization of covalent organic frameworks (COFs), in which the building units are cobalt porphyrin catalysts linked by organic struts through imine bonds, to prepare a catalytic material for aqueous electrochemical reduction of CO2 to CO. The catalysts exhibit high Faradaic efficiency (90%) and turnover numbers (up to 290,000, with initial turnover frequency of 9400 hour−1) at pH 7 with an overpotential of –0.55 volts, equivalent to a 26-fold improvement in activity compared with the molecular cobalt complex, with no degradation over 24 hours. X-ray absorption data reveal the influence of the COF environment on the electronic structure of the catalytic cobalt centers.

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