Electrochemically controlled energy storage in a norbornadiene-based solar fuel with 99% reversibility
Journal article, 2019
Solar fuels based on molecular photoswitches hold the potential to combine solar energy conversion, storage, and release in an extremely simple one-photon one-molecule process. In this work we demonstrate electrochemically controlled solar energy storage and release with high reversibility in a tailor-made norbornadiene photoswitch. We investigated the photochemical conversion of the energy-lean 2-cyano-3-(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)-norbornadiene (NBD’) to its energy-rich counterpart 2-cyano-3-(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)-quadricyclane (QC’) and the electrochemically triggered reconversion. Characteristic bands of NBD’ and QC’ were identified by density functional theory (DFT) and monitored in-situ during the energy storage and release process by photoelectrochemical infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy (PEC-IRRAS). We identified the stable regions of both isomers at a Pt(111) electrode and tested the stability of the NBD’/QC’ couple over 1000 storage and release cycles. It is shown that reversibilities of more than 99% per cycle can be achieved in this electrochemically triggered energy storage system.