UCD PhD student, Eduardo Morais wins award at Green & Sustainable Chemistry conference

The 3rd EuCheMS Congress on Green and Sustainable Chemistry (EuGSC) was held in York between the 3rd and 6th of September. A wide range of topics in Green Chemistry was covered (see https://www.york.ac.uk/chemistry/research/green/events/3eugsc/). Plenary speakers at the congress included Ben Feringa, Nobel Laureate, Paul Anastas, the recognized father of Green Chemistry, Michael Graetzel, the inventor of the dye sensitized solar cell and James Clark the director of York’s Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence.

Eduardo Morais of UCD was awarded a prize for the poster, “Heterogeneous Catalysts for the Sustainable Production of Fuels from CO2”, he presented at the conference.

Pictured: Nobel Laurate Ben Ferringa (Groningen), UCD PhD student Eduardo Morais, and father of Green Chemistry Paul Anastas (Yale).

Eduardo’s project, funded by the Brazilian government under the Science without Borders programme, studied a range of catalytic materials for catalysing light induced reactions involving CO2 fixation to obtain the so-called ‘solar fuels’ as a part of his Ph.D. research work. Reactions of this type helps to produce fuel molecules derived from CO2 and water using sunlight as the main energy source. The challenges are many to achieve this in an economically viable and sustainable manner.

Eduardo’s Ph.D. thesis work is co-supervised by James Sullivan of the UCD School of Chemistry and Ravi Thampi of the UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering.

The prize-winning poster narrates the use of ruthenium-based supported catalysts for catalyzing the reactions between CO2 and H2O, akin to artificial photosynthesis. This research was carried out in collaboration with a final year undergraduate student, Colin O’Modhrain, in the UCD School of Chemistry.

The materials were prepared using solvato-thermal processes and were characterized using a variety of techniques available with the school of chemistry and the school of chemical engineering, highlighting the importance and benefits of inter-school and inter-college scientific collaborations. The results have shown that it is possible to tune the nature and reactivity of the nanocomposite materials through variations in the preparative procedures used.