The anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are not balanced by the bio-cycles, leading to this gas accumulation and, consequently, affecting climate change. The use of biomass as a fuel helps to minimize this matter since the generated CO2 is equivalent to the amount of CO2 fixed during the vegetable life cycle. However, a large portion of the energy that can be generated by the consumption of this material is lost due to the leak of efficiency of a thermo-machine. A more efficient alternative would be the use of electrochemical methods to biomass reform and the consequent generation of highly energetic fuels, like hydrogen gas. Lignin, an aromatic biopolymer responsible for a large portion of the biomass mass percentage is a candidate for this process. Your oxidation, besides the H2 generation as the counter-product, also generates several aromatic molecules, which are of high interest for chemicals production. The investigation of this reaction is rare in the literature, which is probably associated with the complexity of the process. Because of this, the present proposal aims to investigate in a fundamental way the mechanism and the kinetics of lignin's monomers and dimers as models to advance in the scientific and technical knowledge in this field. For that, stainless steel, nickel, and cobalt electrocatalysts will be tested and investigated in alkaline media. The materials will be characterized before and after their use. Electrochemical data will be obtained using several techniques and the generation/consumption of intermediates will be followed by spectroelectrochemical techniques in the ultraviolet-visible and infrared.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: