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Seminar: Advanced Materials for Energy

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November 22, 2013 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm
W122 Engineering Building D3, University of Houston

***** Seminar *****

Center for Integrated Bio and Nano Systems

Houston Chapter of IEEE Nanotechnology Council and Houston Chapter of IEEE Magnetics Society


Friday, Nov. 22, 2013

12:30 p.m. (Refreshments served at noon)

Room: W122 Building D3


Advanced Materials for Energy

Yun Hang Hu

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Michigan Technological University


The critical issues of fossil fuels are their limited natural sources and contribution to the increase of atmospheric greenhouse gases. To solve those problems, solar energy is considered as a promising future energy and the conversion of CO2 into valuable materials is believed as an effective approach to control the emission of greenhouse gases. In recent years, we have made an effort to develop novel materials for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) and to convert CO2 into novel solid materials.

The dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC) plays a leading role in the third generation photovoltaic devices. Currently, platinum is used as a standard counter electrode due to its excellent conductivity and catalytic activity. However, its practical application will be limited by its high cost and rare source. Therefore, it is necessary to develop efficient Pt-free counter electrodes for DSSCs. Very recently, we developed a novel strategy for the synthesis of shape-controlled 3D graphene sheets, which are based on our invented reaction of Li2O and CO to graphene. Furthermore, the synthesized 3D graphene sheets exhibited excellent performance as a counter electrode for DSSCs with a high energy conversion efficiency (7.8%) comparable to that of an expensive noble Pt electrode.

The conversion of CO2 represents a great challenge due to its high stability and low reactivity. However, we found that Li3N can rapidly react with CO2 into two important types of solid materials-carbon nitrides and lithium cyanamide. Different from current processes of CO2 conversion that are endothermic, this reaction is exothermic. Therefore, it constitutes not only a novel process for CO2 sequestration, but also a unique approach for synthesis of carbon nitrides and lithium cyanamide.

Bio of Dr. Hu: 

Dr. Yun Hang Hu is Charles and Carroll McArthur Endowed Chair Professor at Michigan Technological University. Before joining Michigan Tech, he was a Senior Staff Engineer at the ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company and a Research Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He received his Ph.D in physical chemistry from Xiamen University. His main research interests range from nanomaterials, CO2 conversion, clean fuels, hydrogen storage materials, catalysis, quantum chemistry calculations to solar energy. He has published more than 110 peer reviewed papers in reputed journals, and organized 20 international symposia. He is an editor for three books and an editorial board member for five journals. Currently, he is a chair-elect for the Energy and Fuels Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Contact Prof. Jiming Bao (jbao [at] uh [dot] edu) if you would like to arrange for a time to meet with Prof. Hu.