I am fascinated by how Nature can capture sun light and make so much energy-rich biomass out of it every year, that it exceeds 7 times our global annual energy consumption. How can it operate on such a scale while being extremely complex at the same time? It is clear that Nature operates with exclusively highly abundant resources, it has regenerative capabilities, and is adaptable to the environment. How did Nature achieved that? It must be the nanoscale building blocks that are assembled to complex architectures such as chloroplasts that integrate incompatible catalysis environments, and control mass and charge transport on the nanometer length-scale using ultrathin membranes.
My group is exploring the hierarchical integration of catalysts, light absorber, and membranes to make robust nano-scale photoreactors or electrolyzers for coupling key chemical transformations such as water oxidation with CO2 or N2 reduction in a fully integrated system. In particular, we are using functionalized ultrathin oxide layers as membranes and coatings to enhance activity, selectivity, and robustness of photo- and electrocatalytic materials.
We also devote our efforts towards studying the interfaces between different materials components to uncover the fundamental catalytic mechanism using operando and in-situ spectroscopic techniques.
I am a tenure track assistant professor and embedded within the consortium of the Dutch Electrochemical Conversion and Materials (ECCM) programme. During my postdoc, I was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and worked in the group of Heinz Frei at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Within the joint program of the Energy Biosciences Institute and Shell I was developing ultrathin oxide layers for the nanoscale integration of light absorber and catalysts. Before that I did my PhD in the Group of Dirk Guldi at The Friedrich-Alexander University (FAU) of Erlangen-Nuremberg in coupling molecular and quantum dot light absorbers, and catalysts to graphene to study charge transfer processes.
Our research group studies chemical conversions using renewable electricity (electrosynthesis) or sun light (artificial photosynthesis). In particular, we investigate how the physical chemistry of materials and molecules, and how mass transport influences chemical transformations at solid-state interfaces. We focus our efforts on the chemical conversion of highly abundant feedstocks like H2O, CO2, and N2 to energy-dense fuels. We integrate catalysts, light absorbers, and membranes hierarchically to gain control over mass, ion, and charge transport on the nanometer length-scale and improve catalytic activity and product selectivity.
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Together with dr. Marco Altomare, dr. Chris Baeumer, and dr. Georgios Katsoukis,
we would like to inform you of a new elective course: “Electrocatalysis: Materials and Spectroscopy,” starting in Q2B.
Our world’s energy supply and the current chemical industry is based on fossil fuels which have a large carbon footprint and negatively impact our climate and health. In the last decades, however, renewable electricity won through photovoltaic panels and wind turbines has become so cheap that chemical reactions can be driven using electrochemistry. Electrochemical processes will need to run as efficient as possible to become sustainable, which is why electrocatalysis is essential. Electrocatalysis plays a major role for example in electrochemical water splitting to make H2, and in the synthesis of chemicals and fuels utilizing atmospheric CO2 or N2 as feedstock.
Therefore, the success of the energy transition depends on the transformation of the global energy sector by the integration of sustainable electrocatalytic processes. Current and emerging electrochemical conversion processes, however, cannot be scaled-up sufficiently enough, because the materials used today are neither abundant, nor stable and efficient. But how do we find better materials?
This course provides fundamental knowledge on electrocatalysis, including materials, reaction pathways and spectroscopic characterization techniques that help understand and identify reaction mechanisms and key electrocatalyst design principles. We prepare students for performing research on electrocatalysis and electrochemical reactions, both in industry and academia.
Interested? You can find the content of the lectures in the Osiris Catalogue.
For any specific course-related questions you can contact dr. G. Katsoukis, the contact person for this course.
Please note that the course registration period for Quartile 2B is from 27 March 2023 up to and including 23 April 2023.