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Projects. Life and Matter Sciences

Development of Mimics of Hidrogenases Modulated by Transition Metal Complexes to Produce Hydrogen in the Absence of Molecular Reducing Agents

Lead Researcher: Miguel A. Sierra Rodríguez
Research Centre: Facultad de Química. Universidad Complutense. Centro de Innovación en Química Avanzada (ORFEO-CINQA). Madrid.


Miguel A. Sierra RodríguezHydrogen will solve the increasing demand of clean and efficient energy sources. Nevertheless, full scale efficient generation of hydrogen is up today one unsolved problem. Artificial hydrogenase enzymes may be one of the answers to produce hydrogen from water and renewable energy sources. However, the practical use of these systems is hampered by the need of stoichiometric amounts of chemical reductants. This proposal targets to develop self-sustaining devices to produce hydrogen based on hydrogenase mimics, with their physicochemical and optical properties modulated by transition metal complexes. These devices will have one component mimicking a hydrogenase [MFe] cluster, and a second component acting as the "charging" moiety. The electron acceptor ability of the [MFe] moiety will be modulated by additional transition metals, acting also as redox components like in the natural enzymes. The resulting M'Ln[MFe] module will be anchored to an electron donor surface, which will be recharged by a sun-cell, or by the highly reducing materials present in anoxic sewage sludge. Alternatively, siderophore moieties anchored to the M'Ln[MFe] module will fool the reducing bacteria present in the anoxic sludge to take the M'Ln[MFe] module and to act as recharging agents. The actual setups require a Ru-octahedral complex as antenna to act as photo-redox catalyst. The exclusion of these antennae using the direct transfer of electrons from the surface to the [MFe] is one of the targets of this proposal. The integration of the hydrogen producing and recharging moieties in a working device will be done by conventional techniques. The final devices must be capable of working in aqueous media. Finally, the reactions used to build the different sections of the device should be simple, cheap and efficient. Overall, the resulting devices will be self-sustaining, and must produce hydrogen in different environments without the sacrificial of discrete chemical reductants.

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