"Science may be described as the art of systematic oversimplification."
- Karl Popper
Understanding the electrode process is the foundational cornerstone for practical applications in electrochemistry. The electrode process is inherently linked to both mass transport and electron transfer processes. The electrocatalytic CO2 reduction reaction (CO2RR), which involves a complex proton-coupled electron transfer process across multiple reaction phases, serves as an ideal model reaction. Through the investigation of the CO2RR, we aim to comprehensively explore the electrode process, spanning from fundamental theory to practical application. Our research employs a series of in-house developed electrochemical methods to study various interfacial phenomena, including surface adsorbates, pH changes, and interfacial heat transfer. We also use a combined experimental and computational approach to explore the mass transport.
A highly efficient electrochemical system necessitates a comprehensive analysis of the entire cell. In terms of electrode reactions, we are investigating processes to produce high-value chemical feedstocks for carbon upgrading. It's frequently questioned why electrolyzers operate perfectly on a small scale but stumble upon scaling up. We use computational methods to understand the issues and scientific challenges that occur during scale-up, with the aim of designing and engineering enhanced devices.
Building on our knowledge of electrode processes and electrochemical systems, our objective is to realize electrochemical reactors with high activity, selectivity and long-term durability for desired reactions. These reactors are evaluated using industry-relevant metrics such as energy efficiency and product yield. Our ultimate goal is to effectively bridge the gap between laboratory research and industrial application.