Electrocatalysts for energy conversion technologies

From PEM fuel cells to the electrocatalytic reduction of CO2

3 Dicembre
Versione stampabile
Venue: Polo scientifico-tecnologico Fabio Ferrari, via Sommarive 9 - Trento, h 2:30 pm, Seminar Room 
  • Dr. Stefano Mezzavilla, Department of Materials - Imperial College London
Electrochemical energy conversion technologies, such as fuel cells and electrolysers, are progressively entering our daily lives and they will undoubtedly play an essential role in the future. To enable these technologies, major breakthroughs are necessary to discover active and stable functional electrode materials, i.e., electrocatalysts, capable to accelerate target reactions.
In this presentation I will discuss two relevant case. (I) A class of advanced catalysts – made of Pt alloys nanoparticles encapsulated in porous carbon spheres – for the oxygen reduction reaction in PEM fuel cells. Exploiting the pore-confinement effect, we were able to synthesize catalysts with remarkable mass activities coupled with an excellent stability over an extended accelerated degradation protocol. (II) Gold single crystals having well-defined surface orientations for the electrocatalytic conversion of CO2 to CO. Here, we showed that atomic steps and undercoordinated sites control the activity of Au for the electrocatalytic CO2 reduction. 
Dr. Stefano Mezzavilla graduated in Materials Engineering at the University of Trento (Italy). In 2015 he obtained a PhD in Chemistry at the Max-Planck Institute für Kohlenforschung (Germany) under the supervision of Prof F. Schüth investigating advanced nanostructured catalysts for the application in proton exchange membrane fuel cells. In 2016 he was awarded a Marie Skłodowska Curie individual fellowship, with a project focused on the electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 with model catalysts. Since August 2018 he is an independent Imperial College Research Fellow at the department of Materials at Imperial College London. His research interests focus on the design, synthesis and characterization of efficient electrocatalysts for energy conversion processes.