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

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

(sz)

You might also be interested in

  • HZB physicist appointed to Gangneung-Wonju National University, South Korea
    News
    25.01.2023
    HZB physicist appointed to Gangneung-Wonju National University, South Korea
    Since 2016, accelerator physicist Ji-Gwang Hwang has been working at HZB in the department of storage rings and beam physics. He has made important contributions to beam diagnostics in several projects at HZB. He is now returning to his home country, South Korea, having accepted a professorship in physics at Gangneung-Wonju National University.
  • Scientists Develop New Technique to Image Fluctuations in Materials
    Science Highlight
    18.01.2023
    Scientists Develop New Technique to Image Fluctuations in Materials
    A team of scientists, led by researchers from the Max Born Institute in Berlin and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin in Germany and from Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States has developed a revolutionary new method for capturing high-resolution images of fluctuations in materials at the nanoscale using powerful X-ray sources. The technique, which they call Coherent Correlation Imaging (CCI), allows for the creation of sharp, detailed movies without damaging the sample by excessive radiation. By using an algorithm to detect patterns in underexposed images, CCI opens paths to previously inaccessible information. The team demonstrated CCI on samples made of thin magnetic layers, and their results have been published in Nature.
  • Recommended reading: Bunsen magazine with focus on molecular water research
    News
    13.01.2023
    Recommended reading: Bunsen magazine with focus on molecular water research
    Water not only has some well-known anomalies, but is still full of surprises. The first issue 2023 of the Bunsen Magazine is dedicated to molecular water research, from the ocean to processes in electrolysis. The issue presents contributions from researchers cooperating within the framework of a European research initiative in the "Centre for Molecular Water Science" (CMWS). A team at HZB presents results from the synchrotron spectroscopy of water. Modern X-ray sources can be used to study molecular and electronic processes in water in detail.