Chalmers University of Technology
To improve the efficiency of the catalysts, we need to understand, on the atomic scale, the correlation between the catalyst structure, its surface chemistry and the catalytic activity under realistic reaction conditions. To this end, we employ synchrotron-based operando methods, such as surface x-ray diffraction for surface structure determination or x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy to obtain information on the surface chemistry.
As a WISE fellow at Chalmers, I will use these techniques to investigate catalytic reactions that are important for the energy transition. These include the activation of methane and CO2 and the splitting of water into green H2.
There are three main sustainability aspects that my research covers. First, as already mentioned, we want to replace today’s noble metal catalysts by more abundant materials. Second, we at the same time try to find ways to obtain more stable catalysts that work more efficiently, for instance by finding ways to enhance certain reaction pathways that are less energy consuming. Finally, we moreover address catalytic reactions that are important against the background of global warming. These include the conversion of the greenhouse gases CO2 or CH4 into value-added products. But also the production of molecular energy carriers such as green H2 as by means of water splitting using solar and wind power, thereby compensating for their downtimes in energy production.