Current Research Projects

Our group is interested in Electrochemical Engineering and Electrocatalysis
Electrocatalyst Development and Characterisation

Our group is currently developing electrocatalytic materials for redox batteries, fuel cells and carbon dioxide reduction. This includes the synthesis of atomically precise metallic clusters (with Vladimir Golovko, Dept Chemistry) and the preparation of dimensionally stablised anodes via spray pyrolysis.

We characterise the electrocatalysts developed using electrochemical methods like cyclic voltammetry, electrochemcial impedance spectroscopy and steady-state polarisation curves. We determine the structure of these materials by XRD, XPS, electron microscopy, gas adsorption and X-ray adsorption spectroscopy

cobalt oxide film

High surface area cobalt oxide film

Electrochemical carbon dioxide reduction

The conversion of carbon dioxide into useful fuels and chemicals like methane, methanol and formic acid is becoming increasingly interesting. We have studied the mass transport effects on this reaction and developed methods to alter the selectivity of the reaction. We are now developing gold based electrocatalysts for the conversion of carbon dioxide into syn-gas (carbon monoxide + hydrogen) and have a constructed an electrochemical flow cell fro this purpose

Enhancing the kinetics of redox batteries

Carbon felt is widely used as the electrode material in redox flow batteries. While standard carbon felt has many useful properties, it can have relatively poor electrochemical activity towards the RFB redox couples and can waste energy through gas evolution reactions – both of which decrease the performance of RFBs. In this project we are developing superior electrodes by tailoring the surface chemistry of the carbon felt to increase the rates of the RFB reactions while simultaneously supressing the gas evolution reactions. To study and understand the redox kinetics we are using single carbon fibre electrodes to mimic the carbon felt without the complexity of mass transfer effects. Experimental data is also fitted to models which incorporate the inherent kinetics and diffusive mass transport.

 

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