Chao-Jun Li


McGill University

Contact information

Department of Chemistry
McGill University
801 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, QC H3A0B8

Presentation Title

Combined Solar Energy Harvesting and Reversible Hydrogen Storage with Liquid Aromatics


Solar energy harvesting and hydrogen economy are the two most important green energy endeavors for the future. However, a critical hurdle to the latter is how to safely and densely store and transfer hydrogen. Herein, we developed a reversible hydrogen storage system based on low-cost liquid organic cyclic hydrocarbons at room temperature and atmospheric pressure. A facile switch of hydrogen addition (> 97% conversion) and release (> 99% conversion) with superior capacity of 7.1 H2 wt% can be quickly achieved over a rationally optimized platinum catalyst with high electron density, simply regulated by dark/light conditions. Furthermore, the photo-driven dehydrogenation of cyclic alkanes gave an excellent apparent quantum efficiency of 6.0% under visible light illumination (420-600 nm) without any other energy input, which provides an alternative route to artificial photosynthesis for directly harvesting and storing solar energy in the form of chemical fuel.


Dr. Li received his Ph.D. at McGill University (1992) and was a NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University (1992-94). He was an Assistant (1994), Associate (1998) and Full Professor (2000) at Tulane University.  Since 2003, he has been a Canada Research Chair (Tier I) in Green Chemistry and an E. B. Eddy Chair at McGill University.   He served as the founding Co-Chair of the Canadian Green Chemistry and Engineering Network (2008-2016), the Director of CFI Infrastructure for Green Chemistry and Green Chemicals, the Director of NSERC CREATE (Center) for Green Chemistry, and the Co-Director of the FQRNT Center for Green Chemistry and Catalysis.  He has been the Associate Editor for Green Chemistry (RSC) (2005-2019) and Chemical Communications (2020-). He received numerous prestigious awards/honors worldwide: examples include US Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (2001), the Canadian Green Chemistry and Engineering Award (2010), the Killam Research Fellow (2018) and others.  He was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK, 2007), the Royal Society of Canada (2012), the AAAS (2012), the CIC (2013), the ACS (2015), the TWAS (2016), and the EurASC (2020).  He has published >500 peer-reviewed articles, 7 books, and has given >400 plenary/keynote/invited lectures.  His research focuses on developing Green Chemistry for synthesis based upon fundamentally new chemistry that will defy conventional reactivities and possess high “atom-efficiency”.  His research has been cited widely in the literature (> 46,000 times, h-index>100), and was on the Thomson Reuters highly cited researchers (2014-2017).