Jiao Group


Front Photo
Feng Jiao

Feng Jiao
Associate Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Associate Director, Center for Catalytic Science & Technology E-mail: jiao@udel.edu
Full CV

Research Overview

The Jiao group focuses on the development of novel electrochemical devices for solving critical issues in new generation energy storage and sustainable chemical production systems. Combining expertise in electrochemistry, catalysis, and materials science, the Jiao group is able to address the most exciting scientific challenges in the fields of renewable energy and carbon utilization. Breakthrough in these fields is crucial for us to tackle global climate changes by providing clean, sustainable, and environmentally friendly fuel and chemical supplies.

Currently, two major topics of Jiao’s research are: (1) Electrochemical systems for carbon utilization. The team is developing high-rate carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide electrolysis processes with orders of magnitude higher current densities than conventional batch systems through innovative catalyst design and electrode-electrolyte interface engineering. (2) Nanostructured materials for energy applications. The team is investigating novel synthetic methods to prepare nanostructured materials with morphologies and compositions that cannot be accessed using existing approaches. The newly synthesized nanomaterials may exhibit unique properties as electrocatalysts and electrode materials.

Recent News

2018-11-12: Two new group members: Sean Overa and Haeun Shin

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!

2018-10-14: Carbon dioxide electrolysis using a nanoporous Cu catalyst


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. Full story of this work can be found in Advanced Materials.

2018-08-21: Carbon monoxide electrolysis at high current densities!


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. Computational transport modelling and isotopic C18O reduction experiments suggest that the enhanced activity is due to a higher surface pH under CO reduction conditions, which facilitates the production of acetate. At optimal operating conditions, we achieve a C2+ Faradaic efficiency of ~91% with a C2+ partial current density over 630 mA cm–2. Further investigations show that maintaining an efficient triple-phase boundary at the electrode–electrolyte interface is the most critical challenge in achieving a stable CO/CO2 electrolysis process at high rates. A news story regarding this project can be found here. Our work is selected as the journal cover for the October issue and here is the link to full article.

2018-08-07: New NSF-NSFC joint project funded for innovations on the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water systems


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. A news story regarding this project can be found here.

2018-07-09: Generating oxygen from carbon dioxide


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. Full details of this technology can be found in our recent publication in Energy & Environmental Science.

2018-04-11: Dr. Jiao testified before a senate committee!


Dr. Jiao was invited by U.S. Senator John Barrasso and Senator Tom Carper to testify before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on April 11, 2018. The purpose of this hearing is to examine S. 2602, the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies Act (or USE IT Act). The bill covers important research and investments on carbon capture and utilization technologies, including direct air capture, carbon utilization, and infrastructure. A full record of this hearing can be found at HERE. Link to the UDaily story.