TOP grant for Marc Koper and Ludo Juurlink

20. 6. 2011 | Susan

The Chemical Sciences Council of NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) has awarded a TOP grant of € 780.000 to Marc Koper and Ludo Juurlink for their proposal entitled “Solvent effects in the electrocatalytic reactions of water”.

Their proposed research aims at understanding the role of the solvent in the electrocatalytic redox reactions of water, i.e. hydrogen oxidation and evolution, and oxygen reduction and evolution. Traditionally, the emphasis in heterogeneous catalysis is on the role of the catalytic material, whereas the role of the solvent has always been underexposed. For a complete fundamental insight into the aspects that determine the activity of a catalyst, the role of the medium needs to be accounted for properly. The proposed research aims at rectifying this situation through three PhD projects combining electrochemistry in non-aqueous solvents, in situ vibrational spectroscopy, ultra-high vacuum modeling studies with water and other solvents, and ab initio quantum-chemical modeling. It is expected that this research will give new and fundamental insight into the role of solvent, water as well as other solvents, in the electrocatalytic reactions of water, that will be of significance for fuel cells and solar fuel production. The group in Leiden is one of the very few places in the world where this level of multidisciplinary (electro)catalysis research is currently possible.