Electrocatalysis and Energy Storage

(Back row from left to right):  Shashi Kumara Swamy, Chao Xu, Jose Lorie Lopez, Anne Co, Sean Byrne, Nicholas Bashnian, Daniel Lyons, and Danny Liu.   (Front Row from left to right): Kwan Leung, Katie Muhlenkamp, Kendahl Walz,  Xi Lin, Fen Zhang, Eric Coleman, and Josh Billy   [Find more group photos under the “Group Photos” tab]


The primary focus of our research effort is in the fundamental studies of electrochemical reactions, electrocatalyst function and the design of new materials for furthering electrochemical technologies. Our lab is multidisciplinary, combining electrochemical, analytical, materials and physical chemistry techniques.

Main Research Goals

  • Gain deeper fundamental understanding of electrocatalyst reactivity and selectivity
  • Design, characterize and evaluate new energy conversion and storage electrode materials
  • Develop systematic methods of studying the mechanistic pathways of electrochemical reactions
  • Utilize and develop in-situ methods for detecting reaction intermediates to infer reaction pathways

Current research interests in the Co group:

Nanoporous Materials for Electrocatalysis

Nanoporous metals can serve as an ideal framework as battery and fuel cell electrodes providing high surface areas while maintaining electrical conductivity through their ligaments. Another advantage is their tuneable porosity while providing mechanical rigidity and excellent mass transport properties. These properties make nanoporous metal foams excellent electrode materials in electrical storage and conversion applications. Our group will investigate novel nanoporous electrodes as an alternative to conventional Li-ion battery anode to accommodate for the expansion during charge discharge/cycles, as well as nanoporous bimetallic foams and shells as catalyst for the oxygen reduction reaction.

Understanding the electrochemical reduction pathways for the electroreduction of CO2

Electrochemistry has an enormous potential for reductive recycling of CO2. Several classes of organic chemicals (e.g. CO, CH4, C2H4, methanol, isopropanol, formate and urea) can be synthesized electrochemically from CO2 in aqueous or non-aqueous solutions in ambient conditions. Our research group will focus on understanding the electrochemical pathways for CO2 reduction and developing new, more selective and energy efficient catalysts for CO2 fixation into energy fuels.

Last updated on June 2014