Project Summary

Problem    

A.        Developments of ‘deoxygenation’ and ‘C-C bond forming reactions’ are concepts of research, which still require broad solutions.

 

B.        Chemical reactions have been developed that are catalyzed by light, most being UV or IR mediated, but not by visible light (sunlight).

            C.        Global Energy crisis.

This project unifies these concepts and presents a solution - the chemist's way.

Solution

The project works on the concept of photoredox catalysis; photo - driven by light, redox - electron transfers (here, driven by light).

A photocatalyst is a substance that absorbs light. Specific photocatalysts are developed here that absorb light of the visible wavelength, and are modified to have a few specific physical properites. Upon absorbing light, they get excited and can give away electrons to molecules nearby that have a reduction potential close to the oxidation potential of the photocatalyst. The catalyst can regain the electron from a sacrificial electron donor. 

This pathway is exploited such that, alcohols are converted to an intermediate by the reaction conditions, then it would accept the electron from the photocatalyst and degrade into the alkane. In short, a photocatalyst converts an alcohol to the alkane by the energy that it receives from sunlight. It performs deoxygenation with simplicity. 

The intermediate decomposes to a free radical, before converting to the alkane. This unstable free radical is also being used to form C-C bonds easily!


Oxygenated compounds form the intermediates in burning of fuel. Most of the energy is released from burning fuel because of their conversion to alcoholic compounds. According to principles of engineering, they can be isolated; they haven't been, because there has been no purpose. But if, these are isolated, then they can be converted to their deoxygenated versions which is fuel again. This way, fuel is burnt, and energy is obtained, and can be converted back to fuel due to sunlight using the above mentioned reaction. This solves the global energy crisis is a large way.

To prove the final concept, glucose (a highly oxygenated form of hexane - a commercial fuel) has been deoxygenated to hexane. If glucose, being a complex carbohydrate has been converted to hexane, then simpler oxygenated versions that form the intermediates of fuel burning can easily be converted as well. 

Converting carbohydrates into corresponding deoxygenated ones is a large body of chemical science research but with feeble results. The experiments of this project offer a simple and a quick solution!

The following brief presentation gives an outline of the intended work.

Project Presentation.ppt



Here, a graphic video is presented which clearly, by mechanism shows how a poly-hydroxy molecule is formed by burning hexane, and how it can be reconverted back to its fuel by the discussed reaction.

Project Application