Wenjian Hu was born in Hubei (China) in 1994. He studied Chemical Engineering and Technology in Hainan University (2013-2017). During this period, he systematically learned the basic principles of chemical engineering and industrial catalysis. After finishing his degree, He went to Nanjing University (2017-2020) to study materials science and started his research on photoelectrochemical H2O splitting and CO2 reduction. In 2021, he worked as a research assistant at Westlake University for half a year, studying the synthesis of COF (covalent organic framework), where he learned some methods of synthesis and characterization of organic chemistry.
Testing the activity of small cluster to nanometre-sized catalyst for electrochemical CO2 reduction
My research project is on electrocatalysis and its use for CO2 conversion. In this PhD, I will develop Gas-Diffusion Electrodes (GDEs) for selected cluster-based catalysts for electrochemical CO2 reduction towards methanol and ethylene. Specifically, I will mainly conduct the following research in VITO: Preparation of CO2 reduction electrocatalysts using bimetallic cluster deposition combined with chemical methods (including wet chemical methods and electrodeposition methods) under the supervision of Dr. Deepak Pant (VITO) and Professor Ewald Janssens (KU Leuven). In addition to the engineering of the electrodes and reactor, I will optimize the reaction systems, including the optimization of various parameters of flow cell and the preparation of catalyst. My aim is to understand the reasons for the good performance of catalyst (current density, selectivity, stability, overpotential, etc.) from the scientific level, for example in molecular design and spatial configuration of catalyst. A series of ex-situ and in-situ characterization will be used to study these processes.