ECS teamed up with Amazon to bring ECS members the Amazon Catalyst at ECS program. ECS members were able to interact with one of the world’s largest companies and potentially be awarded a grant to tackle a number of different challenges.
Through the program, ECS and Amazon looked for solutions that make life easier, healthier, more sustainable, more enjoyable, or more satisfying. The Amazon Catalyst at ECS serves as a prime vehicle for change. Applicants did not need to be established in their field—they just needed a good solution and the passion to carry it out.
Join the Amazon Catalyst at ECS award recipients as they present their work and address how they are applying electrochemistry to global issues through their research.
Enhancing the Rate of Electrocatalytic Conversion of N2 to NH3 Using Bimetallic Au-Pd Nanoparticles
Development of sustainable, green, and distributed methods with remarkably lower energy consumption is required to meet the nitrogen-based fertilizers demands. Electrochemical ammonia synthesis from nitrogen and water provides an alternative route to the thermochemical process (Haber-Bosch) in a clean, sustainable, and decentralized way if electricity is generated from renewable sources.
By using abundantly available components, air (78% nitrogen), water, and electricity which can be derived from renewable sources (e.g., solar and wind), the production of nitrogen-based fertilizers at room temperature and atmospheric pressure are investigated in an electrochemical system in liquid and gas phase conditions using various in-house nanocatalysts.
The proposed electrochemical apparatus allows the decentralized production of both anhydrous ammonia and aqueous ammonia with high efficiency and low electricity consumption on-site and on-demand. The outcome of this work will pave the way for design and synthesis of efficient electrocatalysts that can enable more sustainable fertilizer production.
Carbon Catalysts for Cost-Efficient Hydrogen Production in PEM Electrolyzers
The team of Catalytic Energy, Inc. developed a novel, earth-abundant, low-cost carbon catalyst as a replacement for the scarce, expensive platinum catalyst presently used for hydrogen production in water-splitting electrolyzers, which can enable widespread deployment of hydrogen technologies and renewable energy sources.
Exposure of single-walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs), as well as other lower-cost layered graphitic carbons (LGCs), to acidic intercalants, in combination with low voltage electrochemical cycling, induces in these materials hydrogen evolution activity that initiates at near zero overpotential and is on par with that of platinum catalysts. Once activated, the low-cost carbon nanofiber (CNF) cathode demonstrates excellent hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) activity in PEM electrolyzer, comparable to that of the commercial Pt-loaded cathode.
Jennifer Schaefer and Peng He
Investigations of Magnesium Polysulfide Flow Batteries
Magnesium-sulfur batteries are currently researched for their potential as beyond Li-ion electrochemical energy storage devices. Despite the theoretical high volumetric energy capacity of magnesium metal anodes, sulfur is not very dense, and many reports on magnesium-sulfur batteries use configurations with inherently low volumetric energy density (low active material loading, high carbon content at the cathode, and high electrolyte content). Thus, the overall energy density of demonstrated magnesium-sulfur batteries is not very high. However, there may be potential for magnesium-sulfur batteries to be competitive in grid-scale storage applications. In this talk, we will report on our investigations related to magnesium polysulfide flow batteries as supported by an Amazon Catalyst at ECS award.
Sampath Kommandur and Aravindh Rajan
Active Control of Heat Flow in Quantum Computing Applications through Piezoelectric Induced Mechanical Strain
The thermal conductivity of a material is the measure of how well it is able to move around heat and is a function of how the atoms of the material interact with each other. We are working on a novel ensemble that uses the mentioned phenomenon to control thermal conductivity by the application of a voltage bias. Such a device, with the appropriate scaling and infrastructure, can control heat flow and maintain multiple temperature fields in a larger system. We foresee applications ranging from AI self-regulating temperature fields in an array of memristors to buildings capable of dynamically responding to weather conditions.
ECS would like to thank Amazon for the partnership that created this
unique opportunity for ECS members.