CBE Seminar: Engineering Electrocatalytic Materials for Energy Conversion and Storage
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Abstract: Progress in catalysis is driven by society’s needs. Recent years have seen the emergence of alternative energy technologies for the generation of electricity, however, dependence on fossil fuels will persist until we develop means to efficiently store, transport and use electricity at global scales. A promising approach to storing energy is the use of excess electricity to drive the production of fuels that can later be transformed back into electricity on demand.
This seminar will describe systematic approaches to the development of materials and devices for the low-temperature, electron-driven production of fuels from water and carbon dioxide. The first half of this seminar will discuss the development of copper-based electrodes for the electrocatalytic synthesis of liquid alcohols from renewable energy sources (e.g. wind and solar). The second half of the seminar will present our efforts on understanding the rate-limiting step during the transformation of carbon dioxide on gold electrodes. Materials development for these transformations has been hindered by the lack of understanding of how charges and molecules are transported in and out of the catalyst/electrolyte interface, the physical boundary where chemical transformations occur. This talk will describe a combination of experimental and multiscale modeling methods to understand the charge and mass transfer phenomena affecting the performance of electrocatalytic materials. The insights generated are then used to engineer advanced materials and devices through control of morphology, stoichiometry and electronic properties in order to overcome performance barriers in catalyzing these reactions.
Bio: Carlos Morales-Guio is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UCLA. His research group is interested in electrochemical catalysis, particularly with respect to energy and chemical transformations for sustainable energy applications. Carlos received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Osaka University and his master's degree and doctorate in chemistry and chemical engineering from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Before joining UCLA in the fall of 2018, Morales-Guio was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University. Morales-Guio is a recipient of the Swiss National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and the Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) Award 2017.