Renewable energy storage and conversion

Electrocatalysts are at the forefront of renewable energy technologies such as water electrolysis and fuel cells to reduce our carbon footprint. We are actively employing the materials-by-design approach for electrocatalyst discovery and understanding. We have developed low-platinum and highly-durable catalysts for oxygen reduction reaction, which holds great potential to accelerate the realization of affordable hydrogen proton exchange membrane fuel cells. We are developing new concepts that can break the scaling relations of electrocatalysis, like extended surface catalysis and single atom catalysis. We aim to activate chemically-inert molecules at an industrially-viable rate by conceiving multi-functional electrochemical interfaces.

Selected Publications:
(1) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2023, 145, 4819–4827.
(2) Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2023, 62, e202214516.
(3) Nat. Mater. 2016, 15, 1188‒1194.


Plastic recycling

Plastic wastes are posing threats to the ecosystems and human health, which urges the development of chemical recyling/upcycling processes. Plastics need to be durable and stable when in use, but this inertness makes the chemical recycling/upcycling have to take place under demanding conditions, often times involving high temperature, high pressure, corrosive acids and bases. Consequently, the processes come with additional carbon footprint and are not competitive in economy. We aims to develop catalytic systems that can digest plastic wastes into valuable products under mild or even ambient environmental conditions. We take inspirations from enzymes and borrow the concepts of biocatalysis in material design.

Selected Publications:
(1) Nat. Sustain. 2023, 6, 965–973.
(2) Chem. Sci. 2023, 14, 6558–6563.