University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Richard C. Alkire Chair Professor, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Catalytic processes using and producing molecular oxygen have broad ramifications, ranging from large-scale ethylene epoxidation, to automobile exhaust remediation, to preferred oxidation of carbon monoxide for gas purification, and to electrochemical oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) for fuel cells and metal-oxygen battery. It is important to gain understanding of their reaction mechanisms and to develop corresponding well-defined nanomaterials as catalysts and electrocatalysts for the specific reactions. In recent years, we have worked on the development of nanomaterials as electrocatalysts for ORR and oxygen evolution reaction (OER), and thermal catalysts for the utilization of carbon dioxides (CO2). In all of the above chemical and energy conversion processes, interactions between oxygen-containing species or moiety with metal active sites are important. In this presentation, I will discuss our efforts in the following areas: 1) approaches to the design and preparation of platinum-alloy based low precious metal (PGM) ORR catalysts through understanding the effect of design parameters on size, facet, composition and fine structures using new in situ tools and quantifiable kinetic analysis; 2) high-performance OER catalysts in acidic media based on the oxygen-deficient perovskite, pyrochlore, and other ternary oxides; and 3) processes for CO2 conversion and purification based on the ORR catalysts. I will focus on the structure-catalytic property relationships. Among the in situ tools, liquid transmission electron microscopy (LTEM) and variable temperature environmental TEM (ETEM) will be given particular attentions. Besides the experimental efforts, density functional theory (DFT) calculations have been used in understanding the observed catalytic performance in activity and stability.
Dr. Hong Yang is the Richard C. Alkire Chair Professor in Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and an elected Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He received his B.Sc. degree from Tsinghua University (1989), M.Sc. degree from University of Victoria (1994), and Ph.D. degree from University of Toronto (1998, with Geoffrey A. Ozin). He subsequently did his postdoctoral research at Harvard University (1998-2001, with George M. Whitesides) and worked at University of Rochester for the first ten years of his academic career before he joined the faculty of UIUC as Full Professor in 2012. Among his awards and honors, He received one of the four NSERC Canada Doctoral Prizes in Science and Engineering for his PhD thesis work, an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship, a US National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and a Visiting Chair Professorship with Shanghai Jiaotong University. He is a Section Editor for Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering, and serves on several Editorial Boards, including Nano Today, ChemNanoMat, Science China Materials, and Frontiers in Energy. His research interests include formation of nanocrystals, catalysis, electrocatalysis, and applications of nanomaterials for energy and sustainability. His group currently work on multiple projects, including low-PGM and non-PGM oxygen reduction catalysts, battery electrode materials, and chemical processes for the utilization of CO2.