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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/M013839/1
Title: Understanding CO2 Reduction Catalysts
Principal Investigator: Payne, Professor D
Other Investigators:
Williams, Professor CK
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Materials
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 05 January 2015 Ends: 03 January 2017 Value (£): 295,230
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Catalysis & Applied Catalysis Energy Efficiency
Manufacturing Machine & Plant
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
03 Sep 2014 ERM Interviews Panel 2 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The need to monitor the synthesis and catalytic performance of materials in-situ and in-operando is of critical importance if we are to find where the barriers to increased catalytic efficiency are, and understand and develop methodologies to circumvent them. Photoelectron spectroscopy (PES) is a widely used multidisciplinary technique widely used to study the composition and chemistry of material surfaces. It is an UHV technique, meaning that it is not possible to investigate the solid-gas interface and consequential reactivity. High-pressure photoelectron spectroscopy (HiPPES) is at the forefront of advanced surface characterization techniques as it now allows the measurement of surface chemistry and physics at near-environmental pressures that are highly relevant for technological applications. Whereas standard photoelectron spectroscopy is performed in the UHV (10-9 mbar) pressure range, HiPPES measurements are performed at pressures greater than 10 mbar. This means that surface reactions can be monitored under highly relevant conditions (e.g. as a function of pressure, temperature, humidity, acidity); in stark contrast to the strongly reducing conditions of a conventional spectrometer which not only provide no dynamic information, but may also actually alter the surface chemistry of the system under study. We aim to use the HiPPES technique to the surface chemistry taking place between copper nanoparticles and CO2. By monitoring the interactions of the gas-solid interface we aim to determine the nature of catalytic active sites, and propose evidence-based mechanisms for the reduction of CO2 on copper. We will study the surface chemistry as a function of temperature, co-adsorbates (such as water and O2) and pH. We hope to understand these nanocatalysts in greater detail, to raise the catalytic efficiency, or to discover new catalysts, thereby enabling the economic viability of carbon capture and utilisation technologies.
Key Findings
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