Research & development - Leuven | More than two weeks ago
One of the biggest challenges of our society is to decrease carbon emissions while the worldwide energy demand keeps steadily increasing. A particular elegant solution to decrease the impact of the ongoing climate change is to utilize the otherwise unwanted and emitted CO2 as raw material for the electrocatalytic formation of valuable chemicals and fuels (e.g. MeOH, formic acid or ethylene). In this regard electric energy is stored in the form of chemical bonds.
Current CO2 electrolyzers are limited in efficiency and often lack product selectivity. Therefore, more research is necessary to find highly active and selective electrocatalysts for the CO2 reduction and many research efforts are directed towards nanostructured high-surface area metal-based electrocatalysts. Indium and tin-based electrodes are very interesting candidates that so far resulted in the formation of formic acid or carbon monoxide. The formation of regular nanostructured electrodes of these metals could have a significant effect on the CO2 reduction mechanism and widen the spectrum of formed products.
In this master thesis, the student will fabricate nanostructured indium and tin-based electrodes for the electrocatalytic CO2 reduction. High surface area and porous interconnected metal nanowire meshes will be electrochemically deposited using regular 3D-porous anodic aluminum oxide templates. These metal mesh electrodes will then be tested in electrochemical flow cells for their activity towards the reduction of CO2. Next to the fabrication of these electrodes, a major focus of the thesis is to study the reaction mechanism and the product formation in different CO2-purged electrolytes at varied potentials through complimentary material and electrochemical characterization techniques (ex-situ and in-situ). These insights are valuable in order to design highly active catalysts that are selective towards a desired carbon compound. The entire experimental work of the project is carried out at the imec facilities.
Type of project: Thesis
Required degree: Master of Science
Required background: Nanoscience & Nanotechnology
Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Nina Plankensteiner (Nina.Plankensteiner@imec.be)