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Green Energy

Biomass Valorisation

In a world of constant expansion in terms of population, commodities and energy demand, the necessity to find renewable sources of energy and chemicals does not need to be stressed.

One of the widely accepted sustainable alternatives relies on transforming waste (biomass) to produce renewable (green) fuels and added-value chemicals.

The breakdown of biomass feedstock generally results in intermediate complex mixtures, which require an upgrading catalytic process. In our group we have been designing novel catalysts to render biomass valorisation an economically feasible and environmentally sustainable process.

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Bio-fules generation: From modelling to reserach lab.

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Schematic reaction scheme for the hydrogenation of levulinic acid Ref. Defilippi C., Rodriguez-Padron D., Luque R., Giordano C., “Simplifying Levulinic Acid Conversion Towards a Sustainable Biomass Valorisation”, Green Chemistry, 2020, 22, 2929

Water Splitting

This project focuses on the design of atypical, ad-hoc designed, electro-catalysts as a new generation of electrodes, especially tailored for the production of H2/O2 from water splitting reaction, thus contributing to the production of clean energy. H2 especially is considered a new sustainable fuel. Nanomaterials are designed to achieve high activity and stability towards Oxygen Evolution Reaction. Novel nanoparticles are explored and optimised from both morphological and electronic structure point of view, to increase the density of active sites and optimizing the electron structure to improve performances in the OER. The systems are found to have comparable properties to noble-metal catalysts and exhibit excellent stability. Our work shows that the pathway toward the ideal catalyst for sustainable water splitting relies on the rational preparation of tailored systems and this result can be achieved in an easy way.

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Switching successfully into alternative energy resources relies in the catalyst's activity, either via optimization of the current ones or by finding alternatives.

In (electro)-catalysis, the age of plain catalysts has been superseded by more sophisticated materials, including hierarchical systems, hybrids and nanocomposites.

Beside the activity, achieving a high degree of selectively is also a key point and somehow still a challenge.

Another important properties is the active surface, where the reaction takes place. The higher it is, the greater is the reaction efficiency (and the smaller are the catalysts amount needed). Here, the spatial organization of the active sites also plays a major role.

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