Doctoral defence: Patrick Teppor “Obtaining platinum-free oxygen reduction catalysts through biomass valorization: a case study of peat“

On 30 August at  16:15 Patrick Teppor will defend his doctoral thesis Obtaining platinum-free oxygen reduction catalysts through biomass valorization: a case study of peat“ for obtaining the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (in Chemistry).

Supervisors:

Research Fellow in Physical and Electrochemistry Rutha Jäger, University of Tartu

Professor of Physical Chemistry Enn Lust, University of Tartu

Opponent:

Alexey Serov, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (USA)

Summary

From Wind Energy to Hydrogen: Estonian Peat's Role in Fueling the Future Estonia is developing wind parks with a total power capacity of 10 GW to prevent future energy crises. This will satisfy the country's peak energy demand of 1.6 GW, but the excess energy needs to be stored. One solution is harnessing this surplus energy to produce the fuel of the future - hydrogen. Converting hydrogen back into electricity can be done with electrochemical devices known as fuel cells. Modern fuel cells rely on expensive and scarce platinum catalysts to speed up the energy conversion process, but alternative catalysts can also be fabricated from more sustainable resources, such as Estonian peat. Patrick Teppor, a doctoral student in the chair of physical chemistry at the Institute of Chemistry, University of Tartu, demonstrates in his research how to valorize abundant Estonian peat. Instead of simply burning the peat as a fuel, it is heat-treated in an oxygen-free environment with different precursors resulting in a charcoal-like active catalyst powder suitable for fuel cells. The developed novel catalyst has a sponge-like structure and nanopores that are approximately a thousand times smaller than a human hair. These nanopores play a crucial role in the catalyst and thus a method for producing a future material was developed in the course of the work.

Defence can be also followed in Teams.

 

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