Sustainable Production of Electricity, Valuable Chemicals and Fuels from Biomass-Derived Compounds over Advanced Electrocatalysts
with Wenzhen Li, Ph.D.
Department of Chemical Engineering
Michigan Technological University
February 25, 2013
ERC 490 (note location change)
abstract: Biomass resources are cheap, abundant and annually renewable, thus they are expected to play a key role in our future energy landscape. The U.S. DOE has identified the top ten inexpensive, platform compounds or building blocks (i.e. glycerol, levulinlic acid, etc.) from biomass. Currently the chief research challenge is to develop cost-effective, green and sustainable approaches to convert these primary building blocks to fuels, chemicals and energy. Li’s recent research on sustainable and efficient production of electrical energy, valuable chemicals and fuels from biorenewable glycerol and levulinic acid over advanced electrocatalysts will be presented. Li’s future research direction and teaching interest will also be briefly discussed.
biosketch: Li is a SFHI (strategy faculty hiring initiative) in Sustainability, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Michigan Technological University. His research interests are in the areas of catalysis, electrochemical energy and nanomaterials. Li has 54 peer-reviewed journal articles with 3600+ citations, six issued patents and his h-index is 26. He is one of the pioneer researchers who discovered that carbon nanotubes are a better fuel cell catalyst support than conventional carbon black. His current research efforts are to explore novel electrocatalytic processes and develop advanced nanostructured catalysts for sustainable production of electrical energy, valuable chemicals and hydrocarbon fuels from biomass-derived platform compounds and greenhouse gas CO2. Li got his Ph.D. with honors in Chinese Academy of Sciences, and has worked as a postdoctoral researcher with Masahiro Watanabe in University of Yamanashi, and with Yushan Yan in University of California Riverside.