Kai Wang, Graduate Student, Voutchkova Lab, GW Department of Chemistry

Supported Single-Site Iridium Catalysts for Valorization of Renewables

Kai Wang, Graduate Student, Voutchkova Lab, GW Department of Chemistry
Kai Wang, Graduate Student, Voutchkova Lab, GW Department of Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry Presents:  Kai Wang, Graduate Student, GW Department of Chemistry, Voutchkova Lab

Online and In-person

The development of catalytic processes for the conversion of renewable waste products, such as glycerol and CO2, to value-added chemicals is critical to enabling a circular economy. We address the development of new methods that simultaneously convert waste materials such as CO2 and glycerol to commodity chemicals with increasing demand, such as lactic and formic acid, via dehydrogenation and transfer hydrogenation processes. However, the catalysts we have employed to-date for these processes are not recoverable and are based on precious metals, such as iridium. Here we report a significant advance in the development of robust heterogeneous catalysts for these processes based on single-site heterogeneous catalysts (SSHCs) immobilized on cheap clay-based hydrotalcite supports. The catalysts are characterized extensively to elucidate surface chemistry and electronic effects of the support, and tested for glycerol dehydrogenation and transfer hydrogenation under microwave, high pressure, and continuous flow reaction conditions. Given that high activity, selectivity and robustness are critical requirements for potential commercial feasibility, we study the structure-property-activity relationships that can help us further rationally design robust and active catalysts for these green catalytic processes.

Bio:

Kai Wang received her B.S. from Huaqiao University in China in 2016. She joined the GWU Chemistry Department in 2016 as a MS student, and in 2017 began her graduate work in the PhD program. Her current work in Voutchkova-Kostal group focuses on the development of supported catalysts for dehydrogenation and transfer hydrogenation from renewable hydrogen sources.