Chemical and Biological Engineering Spring 2018 Seminar – Meenesh R. Singh

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Join the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Armour College of Engineering for a spring seminar on Wednesday, April 18 from 3:15–4:30 p.m. in Perlstein Hall Auditorium. The seminar, titled “Solar-Driven Electrochemical Conversion of CO2 and Water to Hydrocarbons,” will feature Meenesh R. Singh, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, UIC.

Chemical storage of solar energy can be achieved by electrochemical reduction of CO2 to fuels and value-added chemicals. Identifying optimal conditions for electrochemical cell operation requires knowledge of the CO2 reduction mechanism and the influence of all factors controlling cell performance. Multiscale models can be used to validate mechanisms of electrocatalytic reactions and predict the current densities for products from first principles. Our approach brings together for the first time- a quantum-chemical analysis of the reaction pathway, a microkinetic model of the reaction dynamics, and a continuum model for mass transport of all species through the electrolyte. The efficiency limits of solar-driven electrochemical conversion of water and CO2 to fuels is also a function of structure and composition of light-absorber, electrolyte, membrane, and water-oxidation catalyst. These findings provide fundamental insights into the design and implementation of solar-fuels generators for a large-scale storage and conversion of sunlight to fuels.

Singh is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, and the director of Materials and Systems Engineering Lab (MaSEL) at UIC, where his research group is developing state-of-the-art computational and experimental tools to solve grand challenges of the 21st century – i) develop carbon sequestration methods, ii) manage nitrogen cycle, iii) provide access to clean water and iv) engineer better medicines. Singh obtained his B.E. degree in chemical engineering from Sardar Patel University in 2005, M.Tech. degree in chemical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in 2008 and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Purdue University in 2013. His doctoral research at Purdue University was under the guidance of D. Ramkrishna, where he developed novel computational and experimental tools to study shape evolution of crystals. His Ph.D. research resulted in sevem publications in high-impact factor journals, 16 presentations at International and AIChE meetings, three invited talks, three software, and 11 awards including AIChE Best Ph.D. Award, Outstanding Research Award from Purdue and McDonnell Douglas fellowship. His Ph.D. thesis is a landmark contribution in the area of crystallization. After his Ph.D., he joined UC Berkeley as a Postdoctoral Fellow to work with Rachel A. Segalman (2013-14) and Alexis T. Bell (2014-16) on artificial photosynthesis. He has developed various artificial photosynthetic systems for water-splitting and CO2 reduction. His research resulted in more than 22 publications in high impact journals including PNAS and Energy & Environmental Science, more than 50 presentations at international conferences, and more than invited talks. He is a reviewer for more than 14 leading journals.