Official projections, predict a 50% increase in the electrical energy demand in Brazil for the next decade. However, the Brazilian INDC presented at the COP21 commits the country to reduce by 43% its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Therefore, science and technology have a key role and are fundamental towards reducing the costs of renewables and low carbon technologies, which are mandatory to equalize the increasing domestic energy demand (including fuels) and the ambitious INDC of Brazil. Among the possible scenarios for a sustainable future society, the hydrogen economy is highlighted. However, actual systems interconverting hydrogen-electrical energy are based on rare (non-abundant in Brazil) and non-selective (susceptible to e.g. CO) catalysts, and on imported technologies, which make it a non-viable technology in Brazil. In this perspective, the present project proposes a promising approach to develop new electrocatalysts selective towards the hydrogen oxidation and evolution reactions, and designed to a Brazilian scenario (based on abundant elements in Brazil). In this work, it is aimed to understand the factors contributing to the electrocatalytic activity of catalysts based on carbon nanostructures (or having these as support), such as the electronegativity of the doping heteroatom, as well as, it is aimed to quantify and determine the active site(s) in these emerging nanomaterials.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: