Project Overview

Developing Novel Electrocatalysts for Challenging Chemical Transformations Related to Renewable Energy Sciences

Faculty Sponsor

Gongfang Hu (




Electrocatalysis is a research field studying chemical catalysis mediated by electricity as the source of energy or redox equivalents. Generating from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, water, etc., electricity is considered more "green" and sustainable. Electricity or electrons are also "traceless," generating much less chemical waste than chemical redox reagents. Therefore, studies about electrocatalysis afford both fundamental and applicable progress for chemical sustainability. We are currently trying to understand the cost-effective metal elements' role in these molecular electrocatalytic reactions. We will design and synthesize new compounds containing cost-effective metal elements and test their electrocatalytic activities. We will also explore various reaction including the generation of hydrogen gas and organic chemical reactions. Students in the Hu lab will be trained with a variety of techniques in chemical synthetic and electrochemistry, including but not limited to handling air- and moisture-sensitive chemical reactions and compounds, purification of chemicals,  structural characterization of compounds using NMR, IR, and UV-vis spectroscopies, mass spectrometry, and X-ray crystallography. Students who are interested in our research are encouraged to communicate with Prof. Gongfang Hu and join the research lab early in the spring semester. Applications are welcome from motivated students in any class. No prior experience in chemical synthesis or electrochemistry is required. 

Student Qualifications

Students should successfully complete General Chemistry (CHEM 111 or CHEM 102) by the end of the spring semester. Students should be majoring or intend to major in Chemistry or Biochemistry. 

Number of Student Researchers

4 students

Project Length

9-10 weeks

Applications open on 10/03/2023 and close on 02/28/2024

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (