Ongoing projects:

Beyond the limits of mass transfer: design of 3D pillar electrodes in redox flow batteries

Return Beyond the limits of mass transfer: design of 3D pillar electrodes in redox flow batteries November 2020 – October 2024 Renewable intermittent power sources such as solar panels and windmills pose big challenges regarding production-consumption profile matching. To solve this issue, batteries can offer a sustainable solution. More specific, redox flow batteries are an interesting technology since in these…

Unlocking the triple nitrogen bond: increasing the Faradaic efficiency with enhanced electrocatalysts achieved through a combination of high-end electrochemistry and electron microscopy.

One of the greatest global challenges is the minimization of greenhouse gas emissions. Finding a more eco-friendly alternative to the energy-intensive Haber-Bosch process is one way of tackling this problem. This project therefore focuses on the development of the nitrogen reduction reaction (NRR) under ambient conditions since it is more energy efficient. Unfortunately, current catalysts for this process have very…

Sol-gel chemistry to control morphology and porosity of actinide oxide feeds for electroreduction

The global energy demand is currently increasing due to an exponentially growing world population and ever expanding economic growth. Nuclear energy is an important base-load power source that can fulfil this demand with a limited impact on carbon emissions to the environment. The accumulation of highly radiotoxic spent nuclear fuel however is a major disadvantage. The environmental footprint of a…

Past projects:

Integrated CO2 capture and electrochemical conversion: development of an electrocatalytic system

Climate change and global warming has become a growing threat to our world, where the carbon dioxide emisisons are believed to be a major contributor. In order to serve the society and environment, the Sustainable Chemistry department of VITO has been focusing since recent years on CO2 valorization, mainly on the development of conversion technologies.

Highly visible light responsive black titania for photo-electrochemical applications: the electrosensing of polyphenols in flow mode

Recent advances in extending the light absorption range of titania (TiO2) into the visible region has resulted in a new material, i.e. black TiO2 with a bandgap around 1.5 eV. Black TiO2 is a promising candidate for photo-(electro)catalysis under near infrared light owing to its narrow band gap and its improved electronic conductivity which only limited attention has been paid to it to use as a photoelectrochemical sensor.

Fundamental insight into the role of the support and electrocatalyst in CO2 electrolyzers: are carbon-based materials the solution or the problem?

Renewable energy sources can offer a solution for excessive emissions of greenhouse gases and to the expected decrease in availability of fossil fuels in the near future. Both problems would find a common solution if we were able to develop energy-efficient processes to convert (low concentrated) CO2 streams into fuels and useful chemical products, ensuring a positive economic
and environmental balance.

Quantitative in-situ structural, morphological and compositional characterization of bimetallic nanoparticles as a route towards innovative electrocatalysts

The goal of this project is to perform an in-situ structural, morphological and compositional characterization of bimetallic electrocatalytic nanoparticles (NPs) both at the nanometer and the atomic scale. We will synthesize bimetallic NPs electrochemically and/or through colloidal chemistry, by tuning the ratio of different elements including Pt, Ni, Ag, Cu and Sn. The coexistence of different materials on the same nano-object increases its functionalities because the individual properties of each component can be present on a single NP, and even more interestingly, opens the way to the discovery of new…

Electrosynthesis for the sustainable production of ethylene oxide

In the first phase, the activity, selectivity, and stability of the catalyst will be screened. Both commercially available and newly (self)-synthesized catalysts will be used for this purpose (Noblyst, Evonik; IrOx, Sigma Aldrich; Elyst Ir75 0480, Umicore). The most active, selective, and stable materials (Pt and IrOx) will then serve as a basis to synthesize catalytic (bimetallic) particles on flat supports, thus increasing activity, selectivity, and stability. An activity of 50 mA cm-2 and a current efficiency of 60% over a period of 9 months are set as the minimum…