Date of Graduation

5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Chemical Engineering

Advisor/Mentor

Roper, Keith

Abstract

In response to a growing global need to improve utilization of green energy, the concept of renewable energy storage via electrolytic hydrogen production has gained popularity in recent years. However, the prohibitive expense of the bulk platinum catalysts currently used for the hydrogen evolution reaction prevents such a concept from being widely adoptable. This research focuses on a possible alternative catalyst, nanolayer WS2, which is capable of promoting the hydrogen evolution reaction while maintaining economic viability. Bulk WS2 was prepared in semiconducting, nanolayer form through liquid phase exfoliation. Prepared catalyst inks consisting of this material demonstrated successful hydrogen production. The material was then further improved with the deposition of platinum nanoparticles, forming Pt-WS2 heterostructures. Optimization of the nanoparticle deposition procedure via the addition of halogen lamp irradiation proved to decrease nanoparticle size, increasing the surface area to mass ratio and augmenting the availability of electron pathways, which resulted in a significant increase in hydrogen production activity. This irradiated Pt-WS2 sample achieved an onset potential of -62 mV vs RHE and a Tafel slope of 50 mV/decade, placing it among the highest performing transition metal dichalcogenide-based catalysts yet reported.

Keywords

catalysis, hydrogen evolution, transition metal dichalcogenide, platinum nanoparticles

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