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Artificial photosynthesis with metal and covalent organic frameworks (MOFs and COFs): challenges and prospects in fuel‐forming electrocatalysis

Heidary, Nina, Harris, Tomos G.A.A., Ly, Khoa H., Kornienko, Nikolay
Physiologia plantarum 2019 v.166 no.1 pp. 460-471
carbon dioxide, catalysts, catalytic activity, electricity, energy, feedstocks, fossil fuels, photosynthesis, reaction mechanisms, solar radiation
Mimicking photosynthesis in generating chemical fuels from sunlight is a promising strategy to alleviate society's demand for fossil fuels. However, this approach involves a number of challenges that must be overcome before this concept can emerge as a viable solution to society's energy demand. Particularly in artificial photosynthesis, the catalytic chemistry that converts energy in the form of electricity into carbon‐based fuels and chemicals has yet to be developed. Here, we describe the foundational work and future prospects of an emerging and promising class of materials: metal‐ and covalent‐organic frameworks (MOFs and COFs). Within this context, these porous and tuneable framework materials have achieved initial success in converting abundant feedstocks (H₂O and CO₂) into chemicals and fuels. In this review, we first highlight key achievements in this direction. We then follow with a perspective on precisely how MOFs and COFs can perform in ways not possible with conventional molecular or heterogeneous catalysts. We conclude with a view on how spectroscopically probing MOF and COF catalysis can be used to elucidate reaction mechanisms and material dynamics throughout the course of reaction.