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Electrocatalysis beyond platinum: development of sustainable electrocatalysts

Grant number: 14/22130-6
Support type:Research Grants - Young Investigators Grants
Duration: August 01, 2017 - July 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Thiago Lopes
Home Institution: Instituto de Pesquisas Energéticas e Nucleares (IPEN). Secretaria de Desenvolvimento Econômico, Ciência e Tecnologia (São Paulo - Estado). São Paulo, SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Almir Oliveira Neto ; Dolores Ribeiro Ricci Lazar ; Edson Antonio Ticianelli ; Elisabete Inacio Santiago ; Estevam Vitorio Spinacé ; Fabio Coral Fonseca ; Valter Ussui
Associated scholarship(s):17/15304-6 - Electrocatalysis beyond platinum: development of sustainable electrocatalysts, BP.JP


Electrochemical reactions are ubiquitous, occurring in organisms through, for instance the cellular respiration, in the corrosion of metals, in combustion reactions and many technological applications would be possible if appropriate electrocatalysts were developed. As examples of these applications, there are the increasingly important electrochemical systems capable of suitably performing the conversion of chemical energy direct into electrical energy, e.g. the newly proposed abiotic fuel cell for energy harvesting. However, the actual catalysts, based on platinum, presents limited electrocatalytic activity, are finite, extremely fragile and have been increasingly expensive. In this perspective, the present project proposes the creation of novel electrocatalysts towards new frontiers, such as the important environmental nitrite and nitrate destruction, and the treatment of other wastewaters like vinasse. In addition, the electrocatalysts under proposition are based on the versatile nanostructures of carbon, which are of low cost, renewable and widely available in Brazil, while platinum is not abundant nor explored in Brazil at present. This project has the potential to positively contribute to the field of electrocatalysis towards both environmental and technological applications. Among the applications, the catalysts developed in this project might be used effectively towards the destruction of environmental nitrite, nitrate, treatment of vinasse, as well as, towards fuel cell (regenerative and abiotic) reactions and in chlor-alkali electrolysers, among other frontiers of science to be explored during this project. (AU)