Development of Electrocatalysts based on Earth-Abundant Metal Complexes for Energy Conversion

About this project

Project description

Greenhouse gases (COx, CH4, etc.) are responsible for global warming and have direct threats to the ecosystem. Energy production of all types accounts for 72% of greenhouse gas emissions, especially combustion of fossil fuels. The most effective way to eliminate them is to minimize fossil fuel use and find alternative energy sources. Other energy sources, such as sunlight, tide, and wind, are promising but intermittent. Electrocatalytic energy conversion can directly convert CO2 or CH4 and renewable electricity into valuable chemicals, such as CH3OH and C2H4, in which the energy can be stored in the form of chemical bonds for a long time.

Herein, we plan to develop small molecule model complexes of earth-abundant metal ions supported by mixed nitrogen and oxygen/sulfur-containing ligands, which will be utilized to prepare the materials useful for oxidative or reductive electrocatalytic reactions. Molecular complexes are well known for controlling the primary coordination sphere of the redox-active cofactor, where the occurrence of multiple proton-coupled electron transfer reactions happens during energy conversion reactions. Therefore, such molecular complexes could be an excellent precursor with superior flexibility for developing high-efficient catalysts for electrocatalytic reactions.

The catalysts will be in-situ loaded on an appropriate electrode (such as Ni foam or carbon cloth electrode) by constant potential electrolysis experiments or by doing pyrolysis of the molecular complexes. The synthesized catalysts will be thoroughly characterized by different spectroscopic techniques, including powder XRD, SEM, TEM, EDX, XPS, SQUID, etc. The electrocatalytic activity of the synthesized materials will be explored using different electrochemical techniques such as CV, LSV, constant potential electrolysis, Tafel analysis, etc. The GC-mass technique will analyze the products (such as H2, CH3OH, C2+, etc.) derived from different energy conversion reactions.


As per the University admission requirement

Information for applicants

Essential capabilities

As per the University admission requirement

Desireable capabilities

have hand-on experience of working in a synthetic chemistry laboratory.

Expected qualifications (Course/Degrees etc.)

For UQ students: as per the requirement of the University admission; IIT Delhi Students: student must have a valid CSIR/UGC JRF or a INSPIRE fellowship or any other fellowship as per IIT Delhi admission requirement.

Project supervisors

Principal supervisors

UQ Supervisor

Dr Haijiao Lu

School of Chemical Engineering
IITD Supervisor

Associate professor Sayantan Paria

Department of Chemistry
Additional Supervisor

Professor Lianzhou Wang

Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology