(35c) Turning Food Waste into Nitrogen-Doped Bio-Carbocatalyst

Ebikade, E., University of Delaware
Vlachos, D. G., University of Delaware
Two dimensional materials provide excellent performance for some chemistries. N-doped graphene is one such example. Nitrogen doped carbon materials have become of major interest in catalysis and electrocatalysis, e.g., for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and other chemistries, like glucose isomerization and carbon capture. A major gap is that there are no studies of how to tailor the synthesis of these catalysts for specific applications. Here we exploit machine learning methods to optimize synthesis conditions for high performance. As an example, we apply a design of experiments methodology to understand nitrogen-doped biochar synthesis using pyrolysis. We combined SEM, BET, XRD, and XPS characterization to determine biochar crystallinity, nitrogen doping content, surface area, and pore structure. Our results provide fundamental information indicating the interplay of synthesis conditions (heating rate, hold time, final temperature) towards tuning pyrolysis conditions to obtain desirable materials properties. Optimal conditions were extended to potato peel waste material as a novel feedstock for developing scalable and inexpensive nitrogen doped catalysts.