University of Cambridge > > Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy Seminar Series > Enabling the sustainable production of our most coveted chemicals through improved catalysis

Enabling the sustainable production of our most coveted chemicals through improved catalysis

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Our most commonly produced chemicals, such as hydrogen, ethylene, ammonia and hydrogen peroxide, are currently produced in large-scale centralised plants, resulting in colossal CO 2 emissions. Moreover, the transport of these reactive compounds to the end user poses significant safety and logistical challenges. However, with the advent of inexpensive renewable electricity, the electrosynthesis of these chemicals is becoming increasingly attractive. Low temperature electrochemical devices are particularly amenable towards coupling with renewables. They require little infrastructure; as such, they could allow for localised chemical production at the point-of-consumption. It turns out that the catalyst material at the electrode, i.e. the electrocatalyst, controls the efficiency of electrosynthesis. I will present our research on the electrocatalysis of (i) O2 evolution for water electrolysis 1,2 and (ii) oxygen electroreduction to hydrogen peroxide, 3,4 (iii) N2 reduction to NH3 . 5 Our experiments span the atomic scale to real devices. 1 Roy, C., Rao, R. R., Stoerzinger, K. A., Hwang, J., Rossmeisl, J., Chorkendorff, I., Shao-Horn, Y. & Stephens, I. E. L. ACS Energy Letters, (2018). 2 Rao, R. R., Kolb, M. J., Giordano, L., Pedersen, A. F., Katayama, Y., Hwang, J., Mehta, A., You, H., Lunger, J. R., Zhou, H., Halck, N. B., Vegge, T., Chorkendorff, I., Stephens, I. E. L. & Shao- Horn, Y. Nature Catalysis DOI : 10.1038/s41929-020-0457-6, (2020). 3 Verdaguer-Casadevall, A., Deiana, D., Karamad, M., Siahrostami, S., Malacrida, P., Hansen, T. W., Rossmeisl, J., Chorkendorff, I. & Stephens, I. E. L. Nano Letters 14, 1603, (2014). 4 Yang, S., Verdaguer-Casadevall, A., Arnarson, L., Silvioli, L., Čolić, V., Frydendal, R., Rossmeisl, J., Chorkendorff, I. & Stephens, I. E. L. ACS Catalysis, 4064, (2018). 5 Andersen, S. Z., Colic, V., Yang, S., Schwalbe, J. A., Nielander, A. C., McEnaney, J. M., Enemark-Rasmussen, K., Baker, J. G., Singh, A. R., Rohr, B. A., Statt, M. J., Blair, S. J., Mezzavilla, S., Kibsgaard, J., Vesborg, P. C. K., Cargnello, M., Bent, S. F., Jaramillo, T. F., Stephens, I. E. L., Norskov, J. K. & Chorkendorff, I. Nature 570, 504, (2019).

This talk is part of the Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy Seminar Series series.

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