08 Dec 2020 – A collection of good news. 1. Congratulations to Shuzhen and Celia, who have been awarded living allowance and top-up scholarship, respectively, by CSIRO to enable our collaboration with CSIRO Energy. 2. Invited by Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, we spoke our opinion on the way towards large-scale CO2 electro-conversion, as part of the special section "Young Researchers in Green and Sustainable Catalysis (2022)". 3. Research in the Sargent group continues flourishing. Read our recent progress on CO2 conversion to carbon monoxide and methane in Nature Energy, Nature Communications, and JACS.
02 Oct 2020 – Today the group welcomes our first PhD student, Shuzhen. We look forward to the next three years to be pleasant and fruitful. Today is also the first time for the group to get some work done in the lab. We recorded our very first cyclic voltammetric curve. A lot of first stuff! More progress is on the way.
15 Aug 2020 – Continuing the Caltech–Toronto collaboration, we report an adlayer functionalisation catalyst design: a Cu/tetrahydro-phenanthrolinium/ionomer (CTPI) interface which augments both local CO2 availability and adsorption of a key reaction intermediate on the catalyst surface. We achieve an ethylene faradaic efficiency of 66% at a partial current density of 208 mA/cm2 in an MEA electrolyser – 2x higher than that in our Nature paper. Read more about this work in ACS Energy Letter: “High-rate and efficient ethylene electrosynthesis using a catalyst/promoter/transport layer”.
23 July 2020 – Writing in Nat. Commun., high alcohol selectivity and activity from electrochemical reduction of carbon monoxide was achieved by incorporating palladium in copper. Fengwang is proud to contribute to this work as a team member of the Sargent group at UofT. Read more about this work in Nat. Commun. “Enhanced multi-carbon alcohol electroproduction from CO via modulated hydrogen adsorption”.
12 June 2020 – Writing in Science, an electrochemical route to simple epoxides from ethylene and propylene, based on chloride/chlorine cycling, is demonstrated by the Sargent group at UofT. Fengwang is proud to be a team member. Read more about this work in Science “Chloride-mediated selective electrosynthesis of ethylene and propylene oxides at high current density” and the Perspective article "Electrification of the chemical industry".
The paper was highlighted by C&EN News: "Electrochemistry cuts CO₂ footprint of synthesizing ethylene oxide".
12 May 2020 – Writing in Nature Energy, a nanoconfinement strategy boosts the selectivity of CO2 conversion to ethanol to a record high value of 52% while delivering a current density of 300 mA/cm2! Fengwang is proud to be a team member in the Sargent group to contribute to this work. Read more about this work in Nature Energy “Efficient electrically powered CO2-to-ethanol via suppression of deoxygenation” and "Behind The Paper" story in Nature Research Chemistry Community “Confined catalysts improve ethanol electrosynthesis”.
The paper was highlighted by TechXplore: "New electrocatalysts to produce ethanol more efficiently"; and Interesting Engineering: "Scientists develop new method for efficient mass ethanol production".
15 April 2020 – Fengwang is delighted to start his independent career as a Lecturer (equivalent to assistant professor in North America) with the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Sydney!
The lab will continue the exploration of electrochemical catalysis. The lab welcomes motivated students and research fellows at the University of Sydney. Come join the team to conduct exciting research awaiting us ahead!
16 December 2019 – Writing in Nature Catalysis, we report a cooperative catalyst design of molecule–metal catalyst interfaces that catalyses the electrochemical CO2-to-ethanol with a Faradaic efficiency of 41% and a partial current density of >100 mA cm-2. We also report a full-cell energy efficiency of 13% using a membrane electrode assembly (MEA) based system.
Read more about this work in Nature Catalysis "Cooperative CO2-to-ethanol conversion via enriched intermediates at molecule–metal catalyst interfaces" and "Behind The Paper" story in Nature Research Chemistry Community “A marriage between molecular and heterogeneous catalysts”.
21 November 2019 – The work "Molecular tuning of CO2-to-ethylene conversion" is published in Nature. Collaborating with the Peters and Agapie groups at Caltech, we report an electrochemical conversion of CO2 to ethylene with a faradaic efficiency of 72% at a partial current density of 230 mA cm-2 and a stable operation of 190 hours in a liquid-electrolyte flow cell in neutral medium.
18 November 2019 – The project "Developing sustainable liquid fuels from carbon dioxide conversion" was funded by Australian Research Council (ARC) through the Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA). This project aims to develop new electrochemical materials and systems capable of converting carbon dioxide to liquid fuels. It expects to generate new knowledge in the area of advanced materials and systems for sustainable fuel production by interdisciplinary integration of catalyst design, real-time characterisation and system engineering.
17 June 2019 – Writing in Chemistry World, a fossil fuel-free future is prospected through learning to mimic natural photosynthesis on an industrial scale. Together with researchers from the UK, US, Spain, Japan, and Canada, we discussed sciences, techniques, and policies towards a future of chemical industry weaning off fossil fuel-derived materials. Read the full article: "Taking a leaf out of plants’ books".