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KW unit for CO2 electrolysis

June 10, 2024

The conversion of CO2 into valuable chemicals is a key strategy for carbon utilization. Although tandem CO2 electrolysis has shown promise, it has been largely confined to watt-scale studies and larger-scale studies are needed to accelerate commercialization. In a recent effort, the Jiao lab demonstrated a tandem CO2 electrolyzer engineered for the production of multicarbon products, acetate and ethylene, at the kilowatt (kW) scale. The results have been published in Nature Chemical Engineering.

New US patent issued

April 16, 2024

Dr. Jiao and his co-workers have been granted a new US patent on the CO2/CO electrolysis technology.

GETCO2 launched!

November 29, 2023

Dr. Jiao gave an invited plenary presentation at International Symposium on Green Transformation of Carbon Dioxide (ISGTCO2), Brisbane, Australia. This event kicked off the newly established ARC GETCO2 center where Dr. Jiao serves as an international investigator. 

Dr. Jiao is named as a 2023 Highly Cited Researcher.

November 15, 2023

Thanks to our lovely hard-working students and postdocs. This is an achievement by all current and past members of the Jiao group.

We moved to Washington University in St. Louis. And we are hiring!

August 1, 2023

Our lab moved to the Energy, Environmental, & Chemical Engineering Department in the Washington University in St. Louis. We have a few immediate postdoc openings in the field of catalysis. We are looking for candidates with strong background in thermochemical or electrochemical reactor engineering, and CFD modeling. If interested, please send your CV to

CO2 as a sustainable raw material in our future food production

June 13, 2023

We are thrilling to part of a new consortium, where we will work with companies and university researchers to create a sustainable source of proteins for human food derived from CO2. The aim is to help fight the rising global problems with food insecurity and greenhouse-gas emissions from agriculture. the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Novo Nordisk Foundation are supporting the initiative with up to DKK 200 million (€27 million).

Crops grown without sunlight 

June 8, 2023

In a recent issue of Science, our work on corps grown without sunlight was highlighted  by Robert F. Service. The feature article discussed the innovation by Drs. Jinkerson and Jiao, to grow corps in dark with an acetate solution produced through an electrocatalytic CO2 reduction process. The full article can be found [here].

Team Nolux won the NASA Deep Space Food Challenge Phase 2

May 19, 2023

Together with team members from University of California Riverside, we (Team Nolux) won the NASA Deep Space Food Challenge Phase 2 Award! We proposed an artificial photosynthetic pathway to produce foods from CO2, H2O, and electricity, which has the potential to support NASA's manned deep space missions. The news announcement can be found [here]. 

Best practices in CO2 electrocatalysis research

January 2, 2023

Together with Dr. Seger and Dr. Robert, we discussed the issues faced when reporting performance of CO2 electrolysis technology and recommend how to move forward at both materials and device levels. The article has been published in Nature Sustainability.

New technique to probe voltage losses

December 7, 2022

The ability of understanding the performance at a full device level is critical to rationally design new generation CO2 electrolyzer systems. In the Jiao lab, we developed a 5-electrode technique that is able to probe the resistance across different interfaces in a CO2 electrolyzer at work. With the new diagnostic tool, a record performance for CO2 electroreduction to CO was achieved. The key results were published in ACS Energy Letters. 

Enhancing acetate production in CO electrolysis

August 18, 2022

We recently introduce a new strategy to improve acetate selectivity in CO electrolysis. The combination of a Ni-Fe anode catalyst and a suitable anion exchange membrane enabled us to produce a highly concentrated acetate product stream with a high purity (>95%). This work represents a critical step towards commercial applications. The key results were published in Nature Catalysis.

Converting CO2 into food 

June 23, 2022

A joint publication with a team at University of California, Riverside was published in Nature Food. We demonstrated the feasibility to grow plants in dark using electrocatalytically CO2-derived acetate for the first time. The electrochemical-biological hybrid approach offers a completely new pathway for food production that overcomes the critical challenge associated with low efficiency in photosynthesis.

Decarbonizing the chemical industry

May 4, 2022

We recently published a perspective article in JACS Au in which we discussed the emerging electrochemical technologies for decarbonizing the chemical industry.

CO2 electrolysis technology

January 18, 2022

We recently published an Account focusing on our latest contributions in both fundamental and applied research in the field of electrocatalytic CO2 and CO reduction reactions. The full article can be found in Accounts of Chemical Research.

Electrochemical conversion of NOx

January 11, 2022

NOx is considered as a major pollutant to our environment. We recently investigated the electrochemical approach to convert gaseous NOx using transition metal catalysts, which may help us tackle the NOx emission issues. The results have been published in JACS.

Turning biomass into ion conductors for solid-state batteries

October 20, 2021

A recent study on copper-coordinated cellulose ion conductors was published in Nature. This work was conducted through collaborations among Dr. Jiao's group and other collaborators (led by Prof. Liangbing Hu at University of Maryland, College Park).  

New NSF grant on CO2 electrolyzer

October 1, 2021

Dr. Jiao is part of a team who recently received a $4 MM NSF grant (RII Track-2 FEC: Fundamental Insights into the Durability and Efficiencies of CO2 Electrolyzers). 

Promotion to full professor

September 1, 2021

Prof. Jiao has been promoted to the rank of full professor at the University of Delaware.

Techno-economic analysis of CO2 electrolysis

July 12, 2021

Low-temperature CO2 electrolysis represents a potential enabling process in the production of renewable chemicals and fuels, notably carbon monoxide, formic acid, ethylene and ethanol. We recently conducted a systematic techno-economic assessment to evaluate its feasibility as a CO2 utilization approach. The results have been published in Nature Sustainability.

Tandem and hybrid processes for CO2 utilization

January 20, 2021

In a recent Joule Future Energy article, we discussed tandem and hybrid processes for CO2 utilization, which are promising future directions that have great potentials in creating alternative routes in sustainable chemical manufacturing and renewable energy storage sectors.

Impacts of NOx on CO2 electrolysis

November 17, 2020

Industrial carbon dioxide point sources often contain numerous contaminants, such as nitrogen oxides, and therefore, it is important to understand the potential impact of contaminants on carbon dioxide electrolysis processes. In a recent study published in Nature Communications, we investigated the carbon dioxide electroreduction properties of Cu, Ag, and Sn catalysts in the presence of NOx

Advancing carbon dioxide utilization technologies

September 29, 2020

Dr. Jiao and his team won a major research grant from the U.S. DOE. The grant will focus on developing CO2 electrolysis technology for formic acid production. A news story at UDaily is just released.

Dr. Jiao was selected as a Scialog Fellow

July 7, 2020

Dr. Jiao was selected as a Scialog Fellow to participate in the 2020 Scialog: Negative Emissions Science (NES) initiative, jointly sponsored by RCSA and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The event will be held virtually in November, 2020.

New tandem electrolysis project funded by DOE

June 22, 2020

The tandem CO2 electrolysis project was selected for funding by the U.S. DOE. We are looking forward to launching this exciting project shortly.

Probing electrocatalyst surface

May 27, 2020

In a recent JACS paper, in situ surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is employed to investigate the speciation of four commonly used Cu surfaces, i.e., Cu foil, Cu micro/nanoparticles, electrochemically deposited Cu film, and oxide-derived Cu, at potentials relevant to the CO reduction reaction in an alkaline electrolyte. This is a collaborative work with Profs. Bingjun Xu and Levi Thompson, which is selected as a journal cover in JACS and highlighted in Nature Catalysis. 

Overcoming immiscibility in bimetallic nanoalloys

April 25, 2020

In collaboration with Prof. Liangbing Hu at the University of Maryland, College Park, we developed a non-equilibrated synthetic approach to access bimetallic nanoalloys with a highly uniform structure, overcoming the thermodynamic immiscibility. The ability of synthesizing a wide range of nanoalloys with well-defined structures enables us to systematically study the structure-property relationship for important catalytic reactions. The study is now published in Science Advances.

Prof. Jiao serves on the Advisory Board of Journal of Materials Chemistry A

January 7, 2020

Prof. Jiao was invited to serve on the Advisory Board of Journal of Materials Chemistry A, a prestigious journal focusing on materials science.

Carbon monoxide electroreduction as an emerging platform for carbon utilization

December 9, 2019

In a perspective paper published in Nature Catalysis, we discussed recent progress towards high-rate CO conversion alongside mechanistic insights and device designs that can improve performance even further. A techno-economic analysis of the two-step conversion process and cradle-to-gate lifecycle assessment shows the economic feasibility and improved environmental impact of a high-volume commercial process generating acetic acid and ethylene compared to the current state of the art.

Prof. Jiao is appointed as the Robert Grasselli Development Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

September 25, 2019

It is a great honor to be named as the Robert Grasselli Development Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware. Robert Karl Grasselli was a highly accomplished and innovative industrial chemist, renowned for his seminal contributions to the design, development, and commercial exploitation of novel solid catalysis.

Building N-atoms into products in CO electrolysis

August 23, 2019

The electroreduction of CO2-derived carbon monoxide is a promising technology for the sustainable production of value-added chemicals. Now, carbon-nitrogen bonds have been formed electrochemically for the first time through CO electroreduction in the presence of amines, where acetamides are produced through nucleophilic addition to a ketene intermediate. 

SO2 contaminant could strongly affect CO2 reduction

June 17, 2019

We report the effects of sulfur dioxide (SO2) on Ag-, Sn-, and Cu-catalyzed CO2 electrolysis in a flow-cell electrolyzer in near-neutral electrolyte, representing a broad range of CO2 reduction catalysts. We show that the presence of SO2 impurity reduces the efficiency of converting CO2 due to the preferential reduction of SO2. On the contrary, a shift in selectivity toward formate accompanied by a suppression of multicarbon (C2+) products was observed on Cu catalyst, demonstrating that Cu is highly sensitive to SO2 impurity. 

2D Cu nanosheets show superior properties in converting carbon monoxide to acetate

April 8, 2019

We recently showed a two-dimensional Cu nanosheet can electrochemically convert carbon monoxide into acetate with a selectivity as high as 48%. This is a collaborative work together with Prof. Yijin Kang and Prof. Yuanyue Liu. The discovery was published in Nature Catalysis and highlighted as a cover story.

Matt Jouny won the 2019 Kokes Award

April 6, 2019

Congratulations, Matt. Look forward to your presentation at NAM26 in Chicago!

Greener hydrogen from water

January 10, 2019

A recent UDaily article discusses our discovery of Cu-Ti metallic catalyst for green hydrogen production from water. A patent related to this catalyst is recently granted. 

Electrochemical ammonia synthesis and ammonia fuel cells

January 8, 2019

Ammonia is a promising platform molecule for the future renewable energy infrastructure owing to its high energy density (when liquefied) and carbon-free nature. A Research News article was published in Advanced Materials to highlight recent advances in electrochemical ammonia synthesis and ammonia fuel cells. 

Two new group members: Sean Overa and Haeun Shin

November 12, 2018

We are happy to announce that Sean Overa and Haeun Shin will join us in January 2019. Sean and Haeun, welcome to the Jiao group!

Carbon dioxide electrolysis using a nanoporous Cu catalyst

October 14, 2018

A nanoporous copper catalyst for CO2 reduction is synthesized and integrated into a microfluidic CO2 flow cell electrolyzer with well-engineered electrode–electrolyte interface. The CO2 electrolyzer exhibits a current density over 650 mA/cm^2 with a C2+ product selectivity of ~62% at a mild overpotential, which represents one of the highest performances that have been achieved to date. 

Carbon monoxide electrolysis at high current densities

August 21, 2018

Carbon monoxide electrolysis has previously been reported to yield enhanced multi-carbon (C2+) Faradaic efficiencies of up to ~55%, but only at low reaction rates. This is due to the low solubility of CO in aqueous electrolytes and operation in batch-type reactors. Here, we present a high-performance CO flow electrolyser with a well controlled electrode–electrolyte interface that can reach total current densities of up to 1 A/cm^2, together with improved C2+ selectivities.

New NSF-NSFC joint project funded for innovations on the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water systems

August 7, 2018

The Food-Energy-Water (FEW) Nexus is the compilation of the nitrogen, carbon, phosphorous, and water cycles interacting in equilibrium. Due to optimization of individual components of FEW systems in isolation, these cycles are quickly being pushed beyond the limit of their natural equilibria. One remedy to this challenge is to bring the four major cycles back into equilibrium by developing novel, renewable energy powered and efficient technologies. Through close collaboration with our research partners at Tianjin University, we (the Jiao and Xu Labs) at the University of Delaware will design a solar-driven catalysis system capable of producing liquid carbon fuels from carbon dioxide and water. 

Mechanistic insights into CO2 reduction on Au and Ag

July 25, 2018

Understanding reaction pathways and mechanisms for electrocatalytic transformation of small molecules, e.g., H2O, CO2, and N2, to value-added chemicals is critical to enabling the rational design of high-performing catalytic systems. Tafel analysis is widely used to gain mechanistic insights, and in some cases, has been used to determine the reaction mechanism. In a recent Perspective, we discussed the mechanistic insights that can be gained from Tafel analysis and its limitations using the simplest 2-electron CO2 reduction reaction to CO on Au and Ag surfaces as an example. By comparing and analyzing existing as well as additional kinetic data, we show that the Tafel slopes obtained on Au and Ag surfaces in the kinetically controlled region (low overpotential) are consistently ~59 mV/dec, regardless of whether catalysts are polycrystalline or nanostructured in nature. 

Generating oxygen from carbon dioxide

July 9, 2018

Reclaiming oxygen (O2) efficiently from carbon dioxide (CO2), a major product of human metabolism, is a key technology to minimize the oxygen supply for challenging missions such as manned deep space exploration. Together with our partner at NASA Glenn Research Center, we developed an electro-thermochemical hybrid looping (ETHL) strategy to split CO2 into elemental carbon (C) and O2 under mild conditions with a 100% theoretical oxygen recovery efficiency, which cannot be accomplished using any existing electrochemical or thermochemical processes. 

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