Catalytic Technologies Without Precious Metals

Materials Science

Catalytic converters use precious metals – for example, platinum and palladium – to remove toxins from exhaust because of their unique electronic surface properties. New research published in JACS Au shows that it is possible to electronically convert other metals, ones that are less expensive and rare, so that they mimic those properties. This research could advance energy technologies and reduce reliance on precious metals. The research team includes MSI PIs from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science: Professor Paul Dauenhauer, Professor Andre Mkhoyan, Professor Matthew Neurock, and Professor and department head Daniel Frisbie.

A news release about this research appears on the University of Minnesota website: Energy Researchers Invent Chameleon Metal That Acts Like Many Others. The paper can be found on the journal website: Alumina Graphene Catalytic Condenser for Programmable Solid Acids.

Professor Dauenhauer uses MSI for calculations that are part of catalytic conversion of sugars and other biomass-derived compounds. Professor Mkhoyan uses MSI for analysis of transmission electronic microscopy data and density functional theory calculations in studies of perovskite systems. Professor Neurock is performing first-principles simulation analyses of catalytic pathways in conversion of feedstocks to chemicals and fuels. Professor Frisbie is computing the electronic structure of molecules under investigation in molecular conductance experiments.