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Our research program is in the general area of heterogeneous catalysis. Our goal is to acquire a fundamental understanding of the nature of active sites on catalyst surfaces and the catalytic reaction pathways and ultimately to be able to design catalysts with the desired molecular architecture for specific reactions.
  • Catalytic water treatment
Contamination of groundwater by chlorinated compounds such as trichloroethylene (TCE) is an environmental concern due to their high level of toxicity and potential impact on drinking water.  It is estimated that TCE is present above permissible levels in 9-34% of drinking water sources in the U.S. Thus, development of a remediation system to remove chlorinated compounds from groundwater has become imperative. Existing remediation techniques for treatment of contaminated water are not efficient or feasible due to low rates of remediation, high energy inputs, and media regeneration/replacement cost. Although hydrodechlorination (HDC) appears to be an efficient way of groundwater remediation, it suffers kinetically due to low concentration of contaminants, catalyst deactivation due to anionic groundwater constituents, and catalyst inhibition due to HCl, unavoidable reaction product.

Schematic representing swelling of SOMS during the reaction


  • Low- and medium-temperature Electrolysis

Ever increasing energy demands and environmental concerns necessitate development of technologies which are clean, efficient and environmentally friendly such as hydrogen based proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells. One of the technological challenges identified here is the slow kinetics of the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) at the cathode. Platinum based catalysts currently used to catalyze ORR suffer from their high costs, limited availability and susceptibility to presence of poisons in the fuel. Our research effort has focused on development of alternative electrocatalyst materials for PEM fuel cells.

  • High-temperature Electrolysis
Various applications in high temperature electrocatalysis are being studied, including sulfur- and coke-resistant solid oxide fuel cells,  reduction of carbon dioxide and water to produce syngas, and oxidative dehydrogenation of lower alkanes to olefins. Reaction experiments are performed using an electrocatalytic cell, which is sealed onto a reaction chamber, and heated to temperatures between 500-850 °C. Challenges in this research include the reactor design and sealing procedure, development of the catalysts which make up the cell’s electrodes, and characterization of the electrocatalysts.

Schematic design of solid oxide electrolysis cell and TEM image of LSNF perovskite with exsoluted Ni particle.

Principal Investigator

Recent Publications

Gunduz, S., Deka, D.J., Ozkan, U.S., “A Review of the Current Trends in High-temperature Electrocatalytic Ammonia Production Using Solid Electrolytes,” Journal of Catalysis, 387, 207–216 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcat.2020.04.0250021-9517.

Basu, D., Ailawar, S., Celik, G., Edmiston, P., Ozkan, U.S., “Effect of High Temperature on Swellable Organically Modified Silica (SOMS) and Its Application for Preferential CO Oxidation in H2 Rich Environment,” ChemCatChem, 12, 1–17 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1002/cctc.202000397.

Deka, D.J., Gunduz, S., Kim, J., Feree, M., Co, A.C., Ozkan, U.S., “Temperature-induced changes in the synthesis gas composition in a high-temperature H2O and CO2 co-electrolysis system,” Applied Catalysis A., 602, 602 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apcata.2020.117697

Jain, D., Gustin, V., Basu, D., Gunduz, S., Deka, D.J., Co, A.C., Ozkan, U.S.,“Phosphate Tolerance of Nitrogen-Coordinated-Iron-Carbon (FeNC) Catalysts for Oxygen Reduction Reaction: A Size-related Hindrance Effect,” Journal of Catalysis, 390, 150–160 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcat.2020.07.012

Jain, D., Zhang, Q., Gustin, V., Hightower, J., Gunduz, S., Co, A.C., Miller, J.T., Asthagiri, A., Ozkan, U.S., “An Experimental and DFT Investigation into Chloride Poisoning Effects on Nitrogen-Coordinated-Iron-Carbon (FeNC) Catalysts for Oxygen Reduction Reaction” The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 124(19), 10324–10335 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcc.0c01407.

Deka, D.J., Kim, J., Gunduz, S., Jain, D., Shi, Y.,  Miller, J., , Co, A.C., Ozkan, U.S.,” Coke formation during high-temperature CO2 electrolysis over AFeO3 (A=La/Sr) cathode:  Effect of A-site metal segregation” submitted to Applied Catalysis B.

Gunduz, S., Dogu, D., Deka, D.J., Meyer, K.E., Fuller, A., Co, A.C., Ozkan, U.S., “Application of Solid Electrolyte Cells in Ion Pump and Electrolyzer Modes to Promote Catalytic Reactions: An Overview”. Catalysis Today, 323, 3–13, (2019). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cattod.2018.08.008

Olson, N., Deshpande, N., Gunduz, S., Ozkan, U.S., Brunelli, N.A., “Utilizing Imogolite Nanotubes as a Tunable Catalytic Material for the Selective Isomerization of Glucose to Fructose,” Catalysis Today, 323, 69-65 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cattod.2018.07.059.

Dogu, D., Sohn, H., Bhattacharya,  Cornelius, C., and Ozkan., U.S.,  “Using Volatile Organic Compounds in Waste Streams as Fuel, ”International Journal of Chemical Reactor Engineering,” (2019) https://doi.org/10.1515/ijcre-2018-0252.

Celik, G., Ailawar, S., Gunduz, S., Edmiston, P.L, Ozkan, U.S., “Formation of Carbonaceous Deposits on Pd-based Hydrodechlorination Catalysts: Vibrational Spectroscopy Investigations over Pd/Al2O3 and Pd/SOMS,” Catalysis Today, 323, 129-140 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cattod.2018.05.001.