Honors Theses

Date of Award

5-16-2019

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Jared Delcamp

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

Increased atmospheric CO2 has been the result of prominent usage of fossil fuels as a fuel source. As fossil fuels are a nonrenewable energy source, scientists are looking towards more renewable energy resources capable of both efficiently producing energy and reducing atmospheric CO2-emissions. A photocatalyst with an earth-abundant metal capable of chemically reducing CO2 paired with only water and photon inputs would provide a solution to these pressing issues. Here, studies were performed on three catalysts, each with a nickel metal center. Each catalyst went through a series of photocatalytic tests in various conditions to identify whether a catalyst was capable of producing a viable carbon-based fuel or fuel precursor. The three catalysts selected were found to have electrochemical activity in previous studies. When each catalyst went through photocatalytic testing, however, one catalyst was capable of producing a large amount of CH4 with water, a light source, a photosensitizer, and a sacrificial electron donor. This catalyst, labeled as 2-Ni in this manuscript, underwent further studies to determine that the reaction involved in producing methane involved a reaction between CO and H2 with the 2-Ni catalyst. While all three catalysts showed carbon-based fuel production in varying amounts, the 2-Ni catalyst was capable of producing a relatively impressive TON of CH4 while also having a high carbon selective reduction percentage.

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