Multifunctional Electrocatalysts for Waste Utilization
Sujan Shresthaa, Elizabeth J. Biddingera, William E. Mustainb
aDepartment of Chemical Engineering, City College of New York, 140th Street and Convent Avenue, New York, New York 10031
bDepartment of Chemical Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269
The applications of electrocatalysts range from sensors to energy conversion devices. Electrocatalysts can be fine-tuned by applying potential and current. The energy required for catalysis reactions can be provided in the form of electrons; therefore, many complex reactions can be performed at room-temperature. To catalyze intricate electrochemical reactions involving molecules with one or more carbons, the need for multifunctional electrocatalysts is realized. However, frameworks for designing and synthesizing multifunctional electrocatalysts are lacking. The research projects that I will establish will address the design and synthesis of multifunctional eletrocatalysts for catalysis of carbon-based molecules. The targeted applications of these research projects will be utilization of carbon-based wastes from various sources using energy from clean and renewable sources.
In my graduate work, I explored nitrogen-doped carbons supports to increase the stability and activity of Pt for oxygen reduction reaction. Although carbon is the most popular support for Pt, it does not provide strong metal-support interaction to intrinsically enhance activity and stability of Pt catalysts. By doping carbon with nitrogen, electronic properties of carbon can be changed so that the surface has stronger interaction with Pt. My work highlights how microstructure affects the electronic character of the carbon and, in turn, its role as a support of Pt for oxygen
At my present appointment, I am studying electrochemically induced phase transformation in ionic liquids (ILs), which are salts with melting point below 100 ˚C. Among the many applications of this study, is the recovery of fission platinoids (Pd, Rh, Ru) through electrodeposition in ILs. I am interested in controlling the structure and morphology of these metals by understanding how they undergo electrochemical phase transformation in ILs. The work I have carried out, in this regard, shows how interfacial interactions can be exploited to control the electrochemical phase transformationin ILs.
These past research experiences in electrocatalysis and electrochemical phase transformation have equipped me with necessary tools to execute my future research projects, which I will discuss in my poster presentation.
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