Too much manure, too much fertilizer: In many places in Germany, intensive agriculture is endangering water quality. The nitrate levels in groundwater are too high. A research team at Jacobs University led by the Chemistry Professor Ulrich Kortz has now discovered a new way in the lab to reduce nitrate contamination in water – with the help of so-called polyoxometalates, in short: POMs.
“You have to do things others have not yet done; Combine chemicals that others have not yet combined; Under conditions that have not yet been tried”. Ulrich Kortz sees himself as a passionate basic researcher. In 2008, the Chemistry Professor at Jacobs University in Bremen discovered a new class of compounds, the polyoxopalladates. Now the scientist and his team have developed another subclass of these functional materials. For the first time, they have combined two precious metals, palladium and silver, in a molecular metal-oxo assembly – with great benefits for science and industry.
In the fight against climate change, fuel cells are one beacon of hope. They produce electricity from hydrogen and atmospheric oxygen. Instead of exhaust fumes, the only waste product is water. The required hydrogen can be produced sustainably, for example by solar energy.
Polyoxometalates (POMs) are a large class of discrete, soluble metal-oxo anions of early transition metals in high oxidation states, such as tungsten(VI) or molybdenum(VI). Due to a unique combination of properties, such as thermal and oxidative stability, tunability of acidity and redox activity, solubility in various media, and ability to undergo multistep multi-electron transfers without structural changes, POMs keep attracting more and more attention in different areas of fundamental and industrial science, in particular in homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis.