New Helmholtz Young Investigator Group for electrochemical conversion of carbon dioxide at HZB has started

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Dr. Matthew T. Mayer is setting up a Helmholtz Young Investigator Group in the field of energy materials research at HZB. He investigates how carbon dioxide and water can be converted electrochemically into hydrocarbons such as methane and methanol by using renewable energies. Matthew Mayer will receive 300,000 euros per year over a period of five years.

Researchers are faced with the major challenge of developing new solutions for reducing the harmful emissions of carbon dioxide into our environment. One feasible solution is to use clean energy that will convert carbon dioxide and water electrochemically into hydrocarbons such as methane, methanol and ethylene, which are important raw materials for the chemical industry. The biggest hurdle will be improving the energy efficiency, reaction rates and yields from CO2 catalysis.

Matthew T. Mayer is looking to produce novel electrocatalyst materials possessing heterogeneous bimetallic surfaces. Using synchrotron, X-ray and photoelectron spectroscopy, he will be observing these catalytic processes in situ and in operando in order to reveal detailed chemical information about the catalyst–molecule interactions in real time. In this way, Mayer wishes to deliver new insights into guided catalyst design, catalytic mechanisms and principles of cell design. These insights should help to reveal the potential of electrochemical CO2 reduction as a technology for producing valuable hydrocarbons.

Short Biography

Matthew T. Mayer is from the U.S., where he studied chemistry at Boise State University and earned his Ph.D. at Boston College. He currently heads the “Solar Fuels” group at the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces. Prior to this, he conducted research for several years at Boston College in the USA. He holds two patents and has published numerous papers.

About the Helmholtz Young Investigators Programme

The research programme fosters highly qualified young researchers who completed their doctorate three to six years ago. The heads of the Young Investigator Groups receive support through a tailored training and mentoring programme. One aim of the programme is to strengthen the networking of Helmholtz centres and universities. More information