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Research

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

Deka, D.J., Kim, J., Gunduz, S., Jain, D., Shi, Y., Miller, J.T., 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”, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental. 283 119642 (2021) 

Deka, D.J., Kim, J., Gunduz, S., Aouine, M., Miller, J., Milllet, J-M., Co, A.C., Ozkan, U.S., “Investigation of Hetero-phases Grown In-situ on a Ni-doped (La,Sr)FeO3 Cathode and the Resultant Activity Enhancement in CO2 Reduction”, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 286, 119917 (2021). 

Gunduz, S., Deka, J., Kim, J., Wilson, M.  Warren, M.,   Ozkan, U.S., “Incident-angle Dependent Operando XAS Cell Design: Investigation of the Electrochemical Cells Under Operating Conditions at Various Incidence Angles”, RSC Advances, 2021, 11, 6456-6463. 

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).

Ailawar, S., Hunoor, A., Rudzinski, B., Celik, G., Burel, L., Millet, J-M.J,  Miller, J.T.,  Edmiston, P.L., Ozkan, U.S.,”On the Dual Role of the Reactant during Aqueous Phase Hydrodechlorination of Trichloroethylene (HDC of TCE) using Pd supported on Swellable Organically Modified Silica (SOMS)” Applied Catalysis B: Environmental. 291 (2021).

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). 

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

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). 

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). 

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).

Ailawar, S., Hunoor, A., Khalifa, Y., Miller, J.T., Edmiston, P.L., Ozkan, U.S., “Elucidating the Role of Ethanol in Aqueous Phase Hydrodechlorination of Trichloroethylene over Pd Catalysts Supported on Swellable Organically Modified Silica (SOMS)”, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental. 285 119819 (2020).

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)

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)

Jain, D., Ozkan, U.S., “Electrocatalytic Applications of Heteroatom-doped Carbon Nanostructures: Thinking Beyond PEM fuel Cells”, Catalysis Book Series, Royal Society of Chemistry. Catalysis, 32, 44–80 (2020)