Borrowing from biological systems, where metal-free, flavin-based enzymes are important catalysts for reduction and oxidation processes, a team led by Ksenija D. Glusac of Bowling Green State University has now shown that the N-ethylflavinium ion catalytically oxidizes water to form O2 (Nat. Chem., DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1439). The researchers propose that O2 evolution occurs via formation of a flavin peroxide intermediate on the electrode surface, analogous to the mechanism of water oxidation with transition-metal oxide catalysts. Speaking in the Division of Energy & Fuels, Glusac acknowledged that the flavinium catalyst has its limitations.
by Stephen K. Ritter |
August 23, 2012