Title: Novel Perovskite catalysts for solid oxide fuel cells and water splitting

Zhonghua (John) Zhu

The University of Queensland, Australia


Prof Zhu’s research interests exist in advanced catalysis, gas/liquid adsorption and separation, direct carbon fuel cells and solid oxide fuel cells. His publications include one edited book, 8 book chapters, and over 230 journal papers. He holds 7 patents, 3 patents have been licensed to the industrial sponsor. He has raised a total research funding from government and industries in excess of $20 million. He is the recipient of a number of awards, including RK Murphy Medal 2013, Freehills Award IChemE 2011, 2nd place Innovator of the Year Award Global IChemE 2011, the University of Queensland (UQ) Foundation Research Excellence Award in 2007. 


Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) can effectively convert the chemical energy of fuels into electricity at an efficiency up to 60%. They typically operate at high temperature (800-1000oC) resulting in high costs, materials compatibility and durability challenges. Developing SOFCs that can work at intermediate temperature (500-750 oC) has thus been attracting considerable attentions. The performance of the cathode is the largest hurdle to the full realization of low temperature SOFCs. In the first part of this talk, we will introduce our recent studies on novel perovskite catalysts for highly efficient oxygen reduction reaction in SOFCs.  Development of highly active and cost-effective electrocatalysts is central to the large-scale electrolysis of water for hydrogen production. Perovskite oxides are also found to be a group of promising candidates to lower the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) barriers in water splitting, and further improvement of their activity and durability are necessitated. In the second part, we will introduce our recent work on perovskite materials as high performance electrocatalysts in water splitting for hydrogen generation, which actually provides clean fuel for SOFCs.  

Audience Tale Away:

•    Perovskite materials are becoming more and more popular, particularly in clean energy and environmental research areas. From this talk, the audience can learn how to synthesize nanostructured perovskite catalysts, and how to improve their catalytic activity and how to control the thermal and structural stability
•    The audience from universities or research institute could use the perovskite materials in their own areas either as catalysts or sensor materials after this talk. 
•    The audience from industry could also use the perovskite materials as highly efficient and economic catalysts to replace the more expensive catalysts in practice.   
•    This talk covers two applications: solid oxide fuel cells and hydrogen generation, the first application needs relatively high temperature (say 500-750 oC), while the second application works at room temperature. This talk thus provides a good example on how the same type of perovskite catalysts can work at both high temperature and low temperature. This means that the audience/researchers could explore more applications for perovskite materials.