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The call to decarbonize the chemical and energy industries requires the reduction and eventual elimination of fossil carbon resources and the adoption of radically new approaches for producing chemicals and storing electric power harvested from the wind and sun.

To respond to this call, the central research mission of CD4DC is to discover and develop reticular metal-organic framework materials (MOFs) as catalysts for the decarbonization energy transition and to optimize the key catalytic reactions involved. This will be accomplished by a national team of scientists and engineers who will combine in a synergistic way synthesis, catalysis and kinetics, computational modeling, active learning, and characterization expertise.

Scientific Challenges

Hydrogen may serve as an ideal alternative to fossil carbon resources, being abundant and far more energy dense. Future applications may also include converting electric power to chemical energy through electrolysis. However, new catalysts (substances that increase the rate of a chemical reaction) are needed to facilitate those transformations. The central mission of the CD4DC is to discover and develop such catalysts to optimize the catalytic reactions involved.

Reticular metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) will be a central component of the design strategy because their highly controllable periodicity confers several advantages.

CD4DC will target the development of three types of catalysts: (1) MOFs with components that provide a high degree of polarizability and softness for superior hydrogen transfer catalysis, (2) MOFs that enable the use of an external electric potential to facilitate catalytic transformations, and (3) MOFs that provide bio-inspired environments for highly selective chemical transformations. Project objectives will be achieved through interactive and iterative efforts of synergistic computational and experimental techniques that leverage our unique, multi-disciplinary team.


This work was supported by the Catalyst Design for Decarbonization Center, an Energy Frontier Research Center, which is funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences (BES) DE-SC0023383.