CBE/ENGR 225 Seminar Presents: Gabriel Ménard, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry University of California, Santa Barbara
Abundant Metal Catalysts for Applications in Clean Energy Storage and
The shift to a fossil fuel-free economy will require significant advances in catalysis science applied to
energy storage and sustainable chemistry. Here, we will describe our approach and recent results in
catalyst design applied to ammonia splitting chemistry for hydrogen release, as well as for oxidative
biomass depolymerization chemistry.
Ammonia is an excellent H2 carrier gas and its oxidation to release dinitrogen and ultimately hydrogen
is being intensely studied in our lab. Our most recent success involves a simple abundant-metal based
catalyst system which, as part of a synthetic cycle, oxidizes ammonia to dinitrogen, the key multielectron
step to ammonia splitting chemistry.
We are also interested in biomass valorization chemistry, in particular applied to lignin
depolymerization chemistry. New platforms featuring main group multiply bonded centers tethered
through redox linkers to a redox-active metal electron reservoir will be described. Our preliminary
results into oxygen activation yielding unusual vanadium superoxide/peroxide chemistry – a possible
intermediate in C-H bond activation – will also be described.