Jiao Group


Group Photo

Group Picture, July 2017. From left to right (back row): Wenlei Zhu, Sean Overa, John Foster, Matthew Jouny, Ning Zhao, Prof. Feng Jiao, Wesley Luc. From left to right (front row): Andrew Craft, Hongjie Tang, Charles Collins, Emily Jeng.

Feng Jiao

Feng Jiao
Associate Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
E-mail: jiao@udel.edu
Office: 331 CLB
Phone: (302)831-3679
Fax: (302)831-1048
Mail Address: 150 Academy Street, Newark DE 19716 (USA)
Full CV

Research Overview

Energy conversion and storage are more important today than at any time in human history. Our research interests focus primarily on design and synthesis of nanostructured materials for solving critical issues in development of new generation energy storage and solar fuel production systems. In our lab, we combine our expertise in catalysis, materials science and electrochemistry, and by doing so are able to address the most exciting scientific challenges that occur in the field of energy conversion and storage. Breakthrough in this field is crucial for us to tackle global warming by providing the society with clean, sustainable, and environmental friendly energy supplies.

Recent News

2017-10-10: Solar-powered CO2 electrolyzer!


A first-of-its-kind solar CO2 flow cell electrolyzer is reported here with a solar-to-fuel efficiency (SFE) of 6.5% at high operating currents (>1 A), orders of magnitude greater than those of other reported solar-driven devices that typically operate at currents of a few milliamperes. The approach of solar module-driven electrolysis, compared to monolithic photoelectrochemical cells, allows simpler manufacture, use of commercially available components, and optimization of the power transfer between the photovoltaic and the electrochemical systems. Employing commercial high-efficiency crystalline silicon solar cells with a large area flow cell CO2 electrolyzer (25 cm2), we present a procedure for optimizing the SFE of a decoupled photovoltaic electrolyzer by impedance matching the source and the load using their independent current–voltage characteristics. The importance of the voltage-dependent Faradaic efficiency of the electrolyzer on device performance and optimization is highlighted. The results have been published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

2017-08-07: Perspective Article in ACS Catalysis - Nanoporous Metals as Electrocatalysts: State-of-the-Art, Opportunities, and Challenges

Nanoporous metals with their distinct three-dimensional interconnected porous networks are promising materials as electrocatalysts for fundamental studies and practical applications because they have highly conductive self-supporting porous structures with large electrochemical surface areas. This Perspective provides an overview of the recent developments and state-of-the-art nanoporous metals as electrocatalysts for various important electrochemical systems. Potential strategies and opportunities for utilizing the unique characteristics of nanoporous metals to overcome typical problems faced in electrocatalysis are presented. Lastly, challenges regarding the synthesis of nanoporous metals with controlled porous structure and targeted surface catalytic sites are also discussed to stimulate new ideas and interests for nanoporous metallic electrocatalysts.

2017-05-06: Charles won the 2017 Chemical Engineering Industrial Sponsors Undergraduate Research Award!

Congratulations to Charles for winning the Chemical Engineering Industrial Sponsors Undergraduate Research Award to recognize his research achievement in renewable chemical productions. The award was presented at the 2017 College Recognition of Academic Honors & Achievements Ceremony on Saturday, May 6, 2017 at Mitchell Hall.

2017-04-11: Wesley wins the 2017 Bill N. Baron Fellowship Award!

Congratulations to Wesley for winning the 2017 Bill N. Baron Fellowship Award for his contribution to the solar energy field. The award will be presented at the 2017 College Recognition of Academic Honors & Achievements Ceremony on Saturday, May 6, 2017 at Mitchell Hall.

2017-04-10: Nanoporous catalysts for biomass conversion


By finding new catalysts for selective and efficient conversion of biomass-derived products to industrially relevant chemicals and fuels, a transition from fossil fuel feedstocks may be achieved. Furfural is a platform chemical which may be converted to multiple heterocyclic and ring-opening products, but to date there have been few catalysts which enable selective hydrodeoxygenation to 2-methylfuran. In this work, we present a self-supported nanoporous Cu–Al–Co ternary alloy catalyst with high furfural hydrodeoxygenation activity toward 2-methylfuran, achieving up to 66.0% selectivity and 98.2% overall conversion at 513K with only 5% Co composition. The results have been published in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

2017-03-02: Wesley wins the Kokes Award!

Congratulations to Wesley for winning the 2017 Kokes Award for the 25th North American Catalysis Society (NACS) meeting in Denver, CO.

2017-02-24: Turning carbon dioxide into alcohols

Our group is receiving a grant from the US Department of Energy to develop a technology, which allows us to convert CO2 captured in the flue gas into high-value alcohols. So excited! A news story about this grant was just released by UDaily and the official DOE announcement can be found here.

2017-02-17: Spectroscopic study of electrochemical CO2 reduction on gold


Molecular level understanding of the role of bicarbonate in increasing CO2 reduction rates is an important topic, while the lack of in-situ tools make it difficult to directly probe the electrochemical interface. Together with the Xu lab and other collaborators, we developed a protocol to observe normally invisible reaction intermediates with a surface enhanced spectroscopy by applying square-wave potential profiles. Further, we demonstrate that bicarbonate, through equilibrium exchange with dissolved CO2, rather than the supplied CO2, is the primary source of carbon in the CO formed at the Au electrode by a combination of in-situ spectroscopic, isotopic labeling, and mass spectroscopic investigations. We propose that bicarbonate enhances the rate of CO production on Au by increasing the effective concentration of dissolved CO2 near the electrode surface through rapid equilibrium between bicarbonate and dissolved CO2. The results have been published in JACS.