Bimetallic Nanoparticles for Sustainable Electrocatalysis

Brosnahan, John, Chemistry - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Zhang, Sen, Chemistry - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia

There is now a large body of scientific evidence suggesting that human carbon emissions and carbon waste are causing changes to the earth’s atmosphere and ecosystems. Many societies agree that we should broadly deploy new technologies to try to minimize the negative impacts of rapid technological advancement during the last two centuries. Heterogenous electrocatalysis will play an important role in a future, more sustainable chemistry landscape, with potential to make contributions to renewable solutions such as CO2 valorization, green hydrogen, biomass utilization, energy, and transportation. Electrocatalysis can often facilitate the same conversions as in commercial industrial chemistry, but with more benign conditions, less waste, and electricity as the energy input, which can be generated by existing renewable methods including solar, wind, and fuel cells. Nanodimensional metal particles are active electrocatalysts, but for experimental conclusions to be reliable and for making detailed conclusions about surface effects in nanoparticle catalysis, repeatable synthetic procedures for are necessary. Solution-phase nanoparticle synthesis is an adaptable technique for obtaining morphologically homogenous nanocrystals in the lab, where nucleation and micellar growth are controlled to obtain consistent samples. This research utilizes a solution-phase procedure for monodisperse AgPd alloy nanoparticles with tunable alloy composition, which are tested as electrocatalysts in the reductive hydrogenation of furfural to reveal relationships between alloy composition and electrocatalytic efficiency towards furfuryl alcohol production.

MS (Master of Science)
Nanoparticles, Furfural, Electrocatalysis
Issued Date: