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Virginija Kepeniene, Speaker at Catalysis Conference
Center for Physical Sciences and Technology, Lithuania
Title : Metal based electrocatalysts on CeO2/carbon, Nb2O5/carbon and carbon: Synthesis, characterization and investigation of their electrocatalytic activities for both anodic and cathodic fuel cell reactions


A fuel cell is electrochemical cell that converts chemical energy into electrical energy without intermediate of mechanical links. Fuel cells are different from batteries in requiring a continuous source of fuel and oxygen (usually from air) to sustain the chemical reaction, so it is very important to select suitable catalysts for both oxidation of the fuel and reduction of oxygen. Nanoscale materials are very important in many industries. There are many various synthesis methods such adsorption, electroless deposition, galvanic displacement or microwave irradiation methods which let to fabricate nanomaterials. Nanoparticles-based catalysts are usually heterogeneous catalysts broken up into metal nanoparticles in order to speed up the catalytic process. Metal nanoparticles have a higher surface area so there is increased catalytic activity because more catalytic reactions can occur at the same time. Nanoparticle catalysts can also be easily separated and recycled with more retention of catalytic activity than their bulk counterparts.
In the present work, Pt, Au and Co nanoparticles deposited on the different surfaces such as CeO2/carbon, Nb2O5/carbon or carbon were fabricated using the rapid microwave heating and adsorption methods. The synthesized catalysts were examined by Transmission Electron Microscopy, X-ray Diffraction and Inductively Coupled Optical Emission Spectroscopy. The electrocatalytic activity of the Pt, Au and Co supported catalysts towards the oxidation of alcohols and reduction of oxygen was investigated by cyclic voltammetry, chrono-techniques and rotating disk electrode linear sweep voltammetry.
Metal nanoparticles of ca. 1-15 nm in size were successively deposited onto the surfaces of CeO2/carbon, Nb2O5/carbon and carbon. Metal nanoparticles were uniform and well dispersed on the mentioned surfaces. 
It has been found, that the modified catalysts show enhanced electrocatalytic activities towards alcohols oxidation as well as oxygen reduction reactions in comparison with those at the bulk platinum or gold catalysts.


Dr. Virginija Kepenienė got her PhD degree in 2012 at the Department of Catalysis of Center for Physical Sciences and Technology (FTMC) on an electroless deposition in the group of Prof. Eugenijus Norkus. After a post-doctoral internship related to the investigation of catalysts for alkaline fuel cells at the FTMC in the group of Dr. Loreta Tamašauskaitė-Tamašiūnaitė (2013-2015) she continued her work as a researcher at the same Department in relation to synthesis and investigation of various nano-scale materials for fuel cell reactions. She has been working as a senior researcher since 2017. Virginija Kepenienė actively participates in scientific activity: carries out experimental investigations, participates in projects as well as in students training, supervises Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD’s works and students practice projects. She is co-author of 21 publications, among them 16 keynote author. 47 contributions to conferences, of which 25 is the keynote speaker. Co-author of the Lithuanian patent.