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Adsorption and reactions of ethanol on flat and stepped transition-metal surfaces

Grant number: 10/12163-3
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2011
Effective date (End): February 28, 2014
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Physics - Condensed Matter Physics
Principal researcher:Juarez Lopes Ferreira da Silva
Grantee:Polina Tereshchuk
Home Institution: Instituto de Química de São Carlos (IQSC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:08/00782-0 - Computational catalysis: hydrogen production from ethanol, AP.JP


The development of stable and low-cost catalysts for hydrogen (H_2) production from ethanol is one of the main problems to be solved for large scale use of direct-ethanol fuel cells, which is energeticaly more efficient than combustion motors. Using a simple picture, a basic catalysts, e.g., transition-metals (TMs) supported on oxides, act by rearranging the electrons of the adsorbate molecules, which contributes to weak the binding energy and lower the activation energy barriers at the reactions. Therefore, it is clear that an atom-level understanding of the interaction mechanism of molecular species on TM surfaces (adsorption and reactions) is a basic requirement to improve current catalysts devices, as well as to design new catalysts. In this postdoc project, we will employ first-principles density functional theory calculations to obtain a better understanding of the interaction of ethanol with flat and stepped TM surfaces, which can provide an important contribution to obtain better catalysts for H_2 production from ethanol.

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