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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S036628/1
Title: Growing Carbon Chains on Organometallic Networks
Principal Investigator: Crimmin, Dr MR
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Johnson Matthey
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 09 December 2019 Ends: 08 June 2023 Value (£): 423,568
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Catalysis & Applied Catalysis Chemical Synthetic Methodology
Co-ordination Chemistry
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Chemicals Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
13 Jun 2019 EPSRC Physical Sciences - June 2019 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The chemistry of carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2) is deeply embedded in our future plans for energy production, chemical manufacturing and sustainable living. Remediation of CO2 has become a major topic of research in the last ten years and conversion of CO to hydrocarbons is already being applied on vast scales in industry. Catalysis underpins the development of this industry. COx-to-fuels, COx-to-molecules and COx-to-materials (x = 1 or 2) research is indispensable for the growth of the economy, improvement of quality of life, and regulation of gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Arguably the most established technology operating in this landscape if Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) catalysis. The F-T process converts mixtures of CO and H2 into short to medium chain hydrocarbons. Recent research has focused on the use of CO2 rich gas streams. This reaction can be considered as a controlled polymerisation and hydrogenation of CO / CO2 to generate liquid fuels. Despite its advantages, F-T catalysis produces simple alkanes and alkenes, not complicated molecules. Carbon chain formation occurs alongside removal of the oxygen atoms, in the form of H2O, reducing complexity and value. F-T does not capitalise on the potential chemical intricacy that could be introduced when combining COx units to form chains.

In this project we will develop an entirely new approach to use CO and CO2 in chemical manufacture. We plan to exploit a remarkable recent finding from our labs (JACS, 2018, 13614): that carbon chains of 3 to 4 units of length can be grown from CO and CO2 on organometallic networks. We will develop underpinning science to discover the rules for chain growth. We will deliver new approaches to generate small carbon chains from CO and CO2 with control of size and shape. The new carbon chains will be exploited in synthesis as the major molecular component in the construction of complex organic molecules.

The long-term vision behind this project is the development of a modern approach in catalysis that is complementary to both F-T processes and CO2-to-materials research. One that builds molecular complexity from CO and CO2. This proposal describes a three-year project that represents the first steps from discovery toward this goal.

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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk