Wayne State receives DOE grant to develop catalysts for renewable energy generation

DETROIT – Shifting the current energy landscape away from fossil fuels is a major challenge that will require the development of sustainable and clean energy conversion and storage technologies including fuel cells, electrolyzers and batteries. These technologies effectively convert and store the chemical energy of fuels, along with the intermittent electrical energy generated from renewable sources — such as solar power and wind power — through specific electrochemical reactions. In order to efficiently carry out the reactions that lead to energy generation and storage using these technologies, better and cheaper catalysts must be developed.

Eranda Nikolla, Ph.D., professor of chemical engineering in Wayne State University’s College of Engineering, recently received a $533,837 research award from the Department of Energy’s Office of Science for her proposal, “Tuning Catalytically Active Single Sites in Non-stoichiometric, Mixed Metal Oxides for Oxygen Electrocatalysis,” which aims to address this need

Nikolla’s work will focus on the development of efficient electrochemical systems for energy generation and storage. She aims to combine computational tools with nanoscience and catalysis to design catalytically active cationic sites in non-stoichiometric, mixed metal oxides for oxygen reduction and evolution — key reactions in renewable electrochemical energy conversion systems, such as generation of H2 from water. The proposed work will have a significant impact on the development of efficient energy conversion systems.

“It is a great honor that our research has been funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Basic Energy Sciences,” said Nikolla. “This work will have a significant impact in the field by providing fundamental insights that can guide tuning of cationic sites in mixed metal oxide electrocatalysts for energy generation and storage.

The grant number for this Department of Energy award is DE-SC0020953.

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Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research institutions in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit http://www.research.wayne.edu.

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