Design of complex metal/metal-oxide heterogeneous catalytic materials for energy and chemical conversion

2017 Spring Symposium

Eran­da Nikol­la, Depart­ment of Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing and Mate­ri­als Sci­ence, Wayne State Uni­ver­si­ty, Detroit, MI

Abstract — Dwin­dling fuel resources and high lev­els of CO2 emis­sions have increased the need for renew­able ener­gy resources and more effi­cient ener­gy con­ver­sion and stor­age sys­tems. In this talk, some of our recent work on design­ing effi­cient (active, selec­tive and sta­ble) cat­alyt­ic sys­tems for ener­gy and chem­i­cal con­ver­sions will be dis­cussed. First, I will talk about our work on design­ing lay­ered nick­e­late oxide elec­tro­cat­a­lysts for elec­tro­chem­i­cal oxy­gen reduc­tion and evo­lu­tion reac­tions. These process­es play an impor­tant role in fuel cells, elec­trolyz­ers and Li-air bat­ter­ies. We have uti­lized den­si­ty func­tion­al the­o­ry (DFT) cal­cu­la­tions to iden­ti­fy the fac­tors that gov­ern the activ­i­ty of nick­e­late oxides toward these process­es. Using a reverse microemul­sion approach we demon­strate an approach for syn­the­siz­ing nanos­truc­tured nick­e­late oxide elec­tro­cat­a­lysts with con­trolled sur­face struc­ture. These nanos­truc­tures are thor­ough­ly char­ac­ter­ized using atom­ic-res­o­lu­tion high angle annu­lar dark field (HAADF) imag­ing along with elec­tron ener­gy-loss spec­troscopy (EELS) per­formed using an aber­ra­tion cor­rect­ed scan­ning trans­mis­sion elec­tron micro­scope (STEM). Con­trolled kinet­ic iso­topic and elec­tro­chem­i­cal stud­ies are used to devel­op structure/performance rela­tion­ships to iden­ti­fy nick­e­late oxides with opti­mal elec­tro­cat­alyt­ic activ­i­ty. Sec­ond­ly, I will dis­cuss our efforts on design­ing effi­cient cat­alyt­ic sys­tems for bio­mass con­ver­sion process­es. Devel­op­ment of active and selec­tive cat­a­lysts for bio­mass con­ver­sion is crit­i­cal in real­iz­ing a renew­able plat­form for fuels and chem­i­cals. I will high­light some of our recent work on uti­liz­ing reducible met­al oxide encap­su­lat­ed noble met­al cat­alyt­ic mate­ri­als to pro­mote hydrodeoxy­gena­tion (HDO) of bio­mass-derived com­pounds. We show enhance­ment in HDO activ­i­ty and selec­tiv­i­ty due to the encap­su­la­tion of the met­al nanopar­ti­cles by an oxide film pro­vid­ing high inter­fa­cial con­tact between the met­al and met­al oxide sites, and restric­tive acces­si­ble con­for­ma­tions of aro­mat­ics on the met­al sur­face.

Biog­ra­phy — Eran­da Nikol­la is an assis­tant pro­fes­sor in the Depart­ment of Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing and Mate­ri­als Sci­ence at Wayne State Uni­ver­si­ty since Fall 2011. Her research inter­ests lie in the devel­op­ment of het­ero­ge­neous cat­a­lysts and elec­tro­cat­a­lysts for chem­i­cal con­ver­sion process­es and elec­tro­chem­i­cal sys­tems (i.e., fuel cells, elec­trolyz­ers) using a com­bi­na­tion of exper­i­men­tal and the­o­ret­i­cal tech­niques. Dr. Nikol­la received her Ph.D. in Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing from Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan in 2009 work­ing with Prof. Suljo Lin­ic and Prof. Johannes Schwank in the area of sol­id-state elec­tro­catal­y­sis. She con­duct­ed a two-year post­doc­tor­al work at Cal­i­for­nia Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy with Prof. Mark E. Davis pri­or to join­ing Wayne State Uni­ver­si­ty. At Cal­tech she devel­oped exper­tise in syn­the­sis and char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of meso/microporous mate­ri­als and func­tion­al­ized sur­faces. Dr. Nikol­la is the recip­i­ent of a num­ber of awards includ­ing the Nation­al Sci­ence Foun­da­tion CAREER Award, the Depart­ment of Ener­gy CAREER Award, 2016 Camille Drey­fus Teacher-Schol­ar Award and the Young Sci­en­tist Award from the Inter­na­tion­al Con­gress on Catal­y­sis.