Selective visible-light photocatalysis of acetylene to ethylene using a cobalt molecular catalyst and water as a proton source

Francesca Arcudi, Luka Ðorđević, Neil Schweitzer, Samuel I. Stupp, Emily A. Weiss*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

The production of polymers from ethylene requires the ethylene feed to be sufficiently purified of acetylene contaminant. Accomplishing this task by thermally hydrogenating acetylene requires a high temperature, an external feed of H2 gas and noble-metal catalysts. It is not only expensive and energy-intensive, but also prone to overhydrogenating to ethane. Here we report a photocatalytic system that reduces acetylene to ethylene with ≥99% selectivity under both non-competitive (no ethylene co-feed) and competitive (ethylene co-feed) conditions, and near 100% conversion under the latter industrially relevant conditions. Our system uses a molecular catalyst based on earth-abundant cobalt operating under ambient conditions and sensitized by either [Ru(bpy)3]2+ or an inexpensive organic semiconductor (metal-free mesoporous graphitic carbon nitride) under visible light. These features and the use of water as a proton source offer advantages over current hydrogenation technologies with respect to selectivity and sustainability. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1007-1012
Number of pages6
JournalNature chemistry
Volume14
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering

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