Universal reagents for CO2 capture, storage, and upcycling into value-added polymer
It is now recognized that effective strategies of reducing CO2 emissions are urgently needed to address climate change. While a variety of systems have been tested, most of them require energy and are myopic in their scope of reactivity. Thus, we sought to investigate families of superbases (SBs) that serve as CO2 mitigating agents. This talk will focus on describing the wide-scope reactivity of a family of modular SBs that can be exploited in a variety of chemical transformations of CO2 at standard temperature and pressure from dilute and pure gaseous sources. We found that the SBs can form zwitterionic complexes to activate CO2, which can be readily mineralized into metal carbonates. Importantly, the highly reactive nature of SBs renders them widely useful to upcycle CO2 into a number of small molecule carbonates/carbamates, in addition to the direct three-component synthesis of polyurethanes and polycarbonates. These chemical transformations using CO2 as a monomer precludes the use of isocyanates and phosgene, while enabling chemistries to access new types of N-alkylated polyurethanes.