Our research lab is interested in developing catalysts that utilizes solar energy to produce useful fuels such as hydrogen and carbohydrates. To mitigate the world climate change, carbon recycling in a sustainable manner has been proposed, and artificial photosynthesis is one of the promising approaches. In our group, we are developing various electrocatalysts which can convert small molecules to value-added chemicals; i.e. water splitting, CO2 reduction, nitrogen fixation, bio-mass derived chemicals, etc. In addition, we also study how to utilize the solar energy to store useful chemical energy by developing photoelectrocatalyst, or photovoltaic combined conversion system.
Understanding (Photo)Electrochemical Reactions
We are exploring sustainable chemical cycles by developing electrochemical reaction/catalyst materials/integrated devices based on the understanding of the solid-liquid interface (electrode-electrolyte interfaces). Our ultimate reasearch goal is contributing to address critical energy and environmental issues by realizing clean and sustainable chemical production. Three major research topics are (1) electrochemical synthesis for carbon utilization, (2) nanomaterial synthesis for an electrocatalyst application, and (3) in-situ/operando electrochemical characterization for understanding the reaction pathways and the catalyst surfaces which can give a feedback for scientific research advances.
Electrochemical CO2 Utilization
CO2 +H2O + Solar Energy → Chemicals
Increasing atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) has been blamed to cause global warming and climate changes. Beyond carbon dioxide capture and storage, utilization of CO2 technique is urgently required to be developed. Because CO2 is very stable chemical produced as the result of fossil fuel combustion, converting CO2 to valuable chemicals requires additional energy sources, and renewable energy is proposed to be used for sustainable clean carbon cycles.
By mimicking natural photosynthesis system in plant's leaf, researchers are developing artifical leaf which can convert solar energy to chemical energy from CO2 and H2O. In our lab, we specifically interesting to develop electrochemical CO2 conversion system which can be combined with solar energy utilization system.
Solar to chemical conversion device