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Single atoms coordinated on graphitic carbon nitrides to photocatalytic conversion of methane

Grant number: 21/13271-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2022
Effective date (End): May 31, 2026
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Inorganic Chemistry
Principal researcher:Ivo Freitas Teixeira
Grantee:Marcos Augusto Ribeiro da Silva
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Exatas e de Tecnologia (CCET). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:20/14741-6 - Graphitic carbon nitrides as platforms for single-atom photocatalysis: moving towards design principles for improved performance, AP.JP


The unique electronic configuration and distribution of metal single atoms are desirable features for catalysts in chemical conversions. Stabilization of isolated atoms in heterogeneous supports is a powerful strategy to improve catalytic turnover and decrease the number of metals in a reaction. Furthermore, properties from homogeneous catalysts can be achieved in single atoms heterogeneous systems, with intrinsic benefits of solids compounds like stability and recycling. Crystalline carbon nitride rises as a compelling support for metal single atoms stabilization through a simple and controlled method. These metals can be employed in different chemical reactions, such as key reactions in the petrochemical industry. Emerging as an alternative for traditional fossil fuels for energy supply, methane is a carbon source with huge potential reserves. Despite its abundance, methane is a greenhouse gas and its emission has a global warming impact 25 times greater than carbon dioxide. It is necessary to convert this excess of methane into other value-added chemicals. Photocatalysis is considered one of the best alternatives for the direct conversion of methane to other high-value products because it uses electromagnetic radiation (UV or visible) to drive chemical reactions under mild conditions (low temperatures and pressures). Also, it can provide a less oxidative route, avoiding overoxidation to CO and CO2, increasing the selectivity to oxygenate products, such as methanol and ethanol. In this project, we aim to synthesize carbon nitrides with poly (heptazine imide) structures (PHI) and introduce transition metals single atoms via a cation exchange method, recently developed by our group. These catalysts will be applied in the photocatalytic methane oxidation reactions, under mild conditions, to produce oxygenates aiming to obtain mainly methanol, a platform molecule in the petrochemical industry. (AU)

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