(6fy) Multifunctional Electrocatalysts for Waste Utilization

Shrestha, S. - Presenter, The City College of New York
Biddinger, E. - Presenter, City College of New York
Mustain, W. E. - Presenter, University of Connecticut

Multifunctional Electrocatalysts
for Waste Utilization

Sujan Shresthaa,
Elizabeth J. Biddingera, William E. Mustainb

of Chemical Engineering, City College of New York, 140th Street and
Convent Avenue, New York, New York 10031

of Chemical Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269

The applications of electrocatalysts
range from sensors to energy conversion devices. Electrocatalysts can be
fine-tuned by applying potential and current. The energy required for catalysis
reactions can be provided in the form of electrons; therefore, many complex
reactions can be performed at room-temperature. To catalyze intricate electrochemical
reactions involving molecules with one or more carbons, the need for
multifunctional electrocatalysts is realized.  However, frameworks for
designing and synthesizing multifunctional electrocatalysts are lacking. The
research projects that I will establish will address the design and synthesis
of multifunctional eletrocatalysts for catalysis of carbon-based molecules. The
targeted applications of these research projects will be utilization of
carbon-based wastes from various sources using energy from clean and renewable

            In my graduate work, I explored nitrogen-doped
carbons supports to increase the stability and activity of Pt for oxygen
reduction reaction. Although carbon is the most popular support for Pt, it does
not provide strong metal-support interaction to intrinsically enhance activity
and stability of Pt catalysts. By doping carbon with nitrogen, electronic
properties of carbon can be changed so that the surface has stronger
interaction with Pt. My work highlights how microstructure affects the
electronic character of the carbon and, in turn, its role as a support of Pt
for oxygen

            At my present appointment, I am studying
electrochemically induced phase transformation in ionic liquids (ILs), which
are salts with melting point below 100 ˚C.
Among the many applications of this study, is the recovery of fission
platinoids (Pd, Rh, Ru) through electrodeposition in ILs. I am interested in
controlling the structure and morphology of these metals by understanding how
they undergo electrochemical phase transformation in ILs. The work I have
carried out, in this regard, shows how interfacial interactions can be
exploited to control the electrochemical phase transformationin ILs.

            These past research experiences in
electrocatalysis and electrochemical phase transformation have equipped me with
necessary tools to execute my future research projects, which I will discuss in
my poster presentation.