441165 Porous Nano-Structured Doped Materials for Energy-Related Applications

Sunday, November 8, 2015
Exhibit Hall 1 (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Maryam Peer, Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

The global increasing demand for energy calls for cost-effective and sustainable approaches towards energy storage and conversion. Porous catalytic materials are the heart of the process in a broad range of applications including energy conversion, gas adsorption and fine chemicals’ synthesis. Porous nano-structured materials (carbon, zeolite, metal oxides, etc.) have been extensively studied and used either as high surface area supports for dispersing nanoparticles or as metal-free catalysts. Chemical composition and textural properties of these materials significantly affect their performance and stability.

Heteroatom doped carbon-based nanostructures are among the most promising metal free catalysts studied recently. It has been shown that doping different functionalities (nitrogen, sulfur, etc.) into the carbon structure can improve its activity when used in catalytic and electrocatalytic applications. On the other hand, doping increases the dispersion of nanoparticles when these materials are used as catalyst support. In addition to chemical composition, textural properties (BET surface area and pore size) are equally important in dictating the catalyst effectiveness in different processes.  Post synthesis approaches along with templating are typically utilized to tailor the chemical composition and textural characteristics of porous materials. However, it is challenging to maintain the dopant level while increasing the BET surface area of porous carbons. Usually materials with high level of doping suffer from low surface area and undeveloped porosity; while those with higher surface area and desired hierarchical porous network are usually low in dopant level. This challenge, however, maybe addressed by applying bottom-up approaches starting from carefully chosen building blocks, containing desired functionalities and composition. 

As a graduate student, I worked on synthesis of polymer-derived hierarchical carbon materials as porous supports for embedding catalytic nanoparticles. I extended my knowledge by working on nitrogen-doped carbon materials for energy conversion applications and gained valuable experiences on reactions in microreactors and flow chemistry.  I would like to use the experience and knowledge I obtained during my PhD and postdoc and combine them in order to develop simple and cost-effective synthesis routes for chemically tuned, doped porous carbon structures possessing desired physical and chemical properties. Uniform distribution of heteroatoms along with desired pore architecture would provide interesting and unique features such as preferred adsorption/affinity with different substrates, size exclusion and enhanced interaction with secondary nanoparticles. I would like to specifically tailor nanostructured materials for energy-related applications including oxygen reduction (fuel cells), sodium ion batteries, fine chemical’s synthesis and CO2capture; Where surface area, pore size, chemical composition and morphology play crucial roles. 

Postdoctoral Projects:

-          Soft-templated synthesis of high surface area nitrogen-doped carbon

-          Green, continuous biphasic oxidation of alcohols using polyoxometalates as the catalyst

- Under supervision of Professor Klavs. F. Jensen, Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

PhD Dissertation:“The design of a shape selective platinum-carbon catalyst with high effectiveness”

- Under supervision of Professor Henry C. Foley, Chemical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University

Selected Publications:

M. Peer, A. Qajar, R. Rajagopalan, H.C. Foley, “On the effects of confinement within a catalyst consisting of platinum embedded within nanoporous carbon for the hydrogenation of alkenes”, Carbon, 66, 459-466 (2014).

M. Peer, A. Qajar, R. Rajagopalan, H.C. Foley, “Synthesis of carbon with bimodal porosity by simultaneous polymerization of furfuryl alcohol and phloroglucinol”, Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, 196, 235-242 (2014).

M. Peer, A. Qajar, B.P.M. Holbrook, R. Rajagopalan, H.C. Foley, “Platinum embedded within carbon nanospheres for shape selective liquid phase hydrogenation”, Carbon, 57, 485-497 (2013).

M. Peer, A. Qajar, R. Rajagopalan, H.C. Foley, “On the effects of emulsion polymerization of furfuryl alcohol on the formation of carbon spheres and other structures derived by pyrolysis of polyfurfuryl alcohol ”, Carbon, 51, 85-93 (2013).

A. Qajar, M. Peer, R. Rajagopalan, H.C. Foley,Characterization of micro- and mesoporous materials using accelerated dynamics adsorotion”, Langmuir, 29, 12400-12409 (2013).

A. Qajar, M. Peer, R. Rajagopalan and H.C. Foley, “High-pressure hydrogen adsorption apparatus: Design and error analysis”, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 37, 9123-9136 (2012).

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