Department: Materials Science & Engineering Program
Faculty: Engineering
Tel Aviv University

Prof. Rosen Brian Ashley

Research Projects

Methane Dry Reforming Catalysts (GTL)
The worldwide crude oil supply will deplete in approximately 45 years if we continue at our current rate of consumption.By comparison, the world’s natural gas (80-99% methane) supply is predicted to be large enough to supply our energy needs for the next millennium. This project seeks to synthesize catalytic nano materials for methane conversion into synthetic fuels via gas-to-liquid (GTL) synthesis. The first step in methane GTL conversion can be the methane dry reforming reaction:
CH4 + CO2 = 2CO + 2H2 ΔH = +261 kJ/mol
Improving the state of catalysts for this reaction has generated substantial environmental interest as it can be the first step in methane conversion into liquid fuels while consuming carbon dioxide and methane simultaneously (both greenhouse gasses). The limitation preventing the large-scale industrialization of this process is the lack of catalytic materials that are both highly active and resistant to coking (carbon deposition), oxidation, sintering, and subsequent deactivation. Through clever design of materials, we can design materials to resist these deactivation mechanisms and improve performance and lifetime.

Development of Heterogeneous Catalysts with Energetic Materials
This project utilizes combustion synthesis in order to create high-surface area metallic alloy foams specifically designed for methane and carbon dioxide catalysis.

Influence of Shape, Segregation, and Defects on Catalyst Exsolution from Ordered Ceramics
Solid-phase crystallization of well-ordered ceramics has been proposed to be an effective single-step method for forming catalysts with strong metal-support interactions. This project investigates the effect of precursor shape, microstructure, defect structure, and composition on the ability to form a supported catalyst system by exsolving nanoparticles distributed on a ceramic support. The solid-phase crystallization process can be influenced by shape and defect concentration in the precursor, leading to materials with a wide variety of catalytic and redox properties. Such materials have application in methane and carbon dioxide reforming into synthetic fuels.

Structure dependence of fuel cell catalysts for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR)
This project utilizes pulse electrodeposition (PED) and reverse pulse electrodeposition as a technique for the evaluation of crystallographic orientation on ORR catalytic activity in polycrystalline systems. The film thickness, morphology, and microstructure can be controlled electrochemically by 4 degrees of freedom (peak height, reverse peak height, duty cycle, and pulse period) giving a high order of control to the deposition process. These parameters can be tuned to generate a continuous range of film geometries ranging from planar to nano-particulate to dendritic. These films can be an excellent system for evaluating the effect of orientation and microstructure on ORR activity because PED can generate novel compositions, morphologies, and phases unattainable through other synthesis methods. Improvement of ORR catalysts is a leading goal for improving the overall efficiency of PEM (and similar) fuel cell devices.

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