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Anthropogenic climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing humans today. It is scientifically established that the production of copious amounts of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primarycause of global warming. Many of these greenhouse gases are produced from the combustion of carbon-based fuels and researchers are investigating promising alternative fuel sources such as hydrogen gas. Hydrogen gas is a clean burning fuel that stores a significant amount of chemical potential energy. The goal of this project was to synthesize a protein based photocatalytic hydrogen production system and to characterize the effects of modifications on thesystem. Significant progress has been made in developing/synthesizing all of the components of a three-partphotocatalytic system including the photosensitizer, [Ru(4-CH2Br- 4¢-(2,2¢-bipyridine)(2,2¢-bipyridine)2](PF6)2, the protein rubredoxin, and a newly designed hydrogen evolution catalyst [Cp*Ir(4,4'-dimethyl-2,2'-bipyridine)Cl]+designed to link to proteins. Preliminary characterization of hydrogen production was determined using a standard curve to detect hydrogen by gas chromatography. Tris(bipyridine)ruthenium(II) in conjunction with a free cobaloxime catalyst was used to analyze the integrity of the analytical method. Future work will allow researchers toattach [Cp*Ir(4,4¢-dimethyl-2,2¢-bipyridine)Cl]+ to a protein linker and test its effectiveness for photochemical hydrogen production which will serve as a standard baseline for future hydrogen production experimentation.



Thesis Comittee

Dr. Sarah Soltau, Thesis Advisor

Dr. Saritha Nellutla, Committee Member

Dr. Steven Haefner, Committee Member

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Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

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