/SMART electroCATALYSTs for electroreduction of carbon dioxide to high quality molecules

SMART electroCATALYSTs for electroreduction of carbon dioxide to high quality molecules

Master projects/internships - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Catalyzing a greener tomorrow: Transforming carbon dioxide into precious resources

The imperative to address carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions has ushered in an era where electrochemical CO2 reduction stands as a pivotal frontier in sustainable technology. This process holds profound importance due to its potential to serve as a transformative solution for mitigating climate change and fostering a more sustainable energy landscape. However existing CO2 electrolyzers encounter challenges related to efficiency and product selectivity, leading to the formation of diverse carbon species. Addressing this issue necessitates dedicated research efforts to identify electrocatalysts that are both highly active and selective for the CO2 reduction process.

Most classical CO2 reduction catalysts form single carbon products (like silver forms carbon monoxide at a high faradaic efficiency). Copper is the most explored catalyst that forms a range of products but at lower efficiencies. It is difficult to form higher carbon products e.g. which are more valuable in the industry.

At imec, we are exploring catalysts that can potentially produce higher carbon products at high faradaic efficiencies. Depending on certain factors, the properties of these catalysts can be tuned to alter the COreaction pathway, such that they can form desired products. These are known as ‘smart’ catalysts. Current experiments in our lab are directed towards enhancing selectivity for valuable carbon products while suppressing the parasitic hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) using a novel mesoporous titania (TiO2) based smart catalyst.

During the master thesis, the student will show the potential of this material as an innovative smart catalyst for CO2 reduction. This masters project aims to understand underlying mechanisms and the identification of key factors influencing reaction pathways. The student will learn fundamentals of CO2 reduction reaction, working with various characterization tools and be a part of an interactive research environment. The entire experimental work of the project will be carried out in the electrochemistry labs at imec.


Type of project: Internship, Thesis

Required degree: Master of Science, Master of Engineering Science

Required background: Nanoscience & Nanotechnology

Duration: 6 to 9 months

Supervisor: Philippe Vereecken

Supervising scientist(s): For more information on this topic, please contact Debargha Chakravorty (debargha.chakravorty@imec.be)

Only for self-supporting students.

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