Richa Ghosh

 Richa Ghosh


richag3 at Illinois dot edu
B.S., Chemical Engineering: University of California, Los Angeles (2020)
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Project: Electrochemical Alkene Epoxidations

Project Description: Alkenes are typically unreactive with water (H2O), however by applying an anodic potential (> 2.1 VRHE) at ambient conditions alkenes can be directly epoxidized using H2O as the sole oxygen source. Despite the clear economic and environmental advantages of this chemistry, the underlying reaction mechanisms of electrochemical alkene epoxidation (EAE) on metal-oxide (MO) catalysts are not well known. Additionally, the impact of MO properties (metal identity, coordination number, etc.) and reaction conditions (potential, temperature, pH, etc.) on product distributions and formation rates are poorly understood, leading to a gap in the literature on design rules for highly selective and reactive EAE catalysts. Previous studies on EAE have only considered batch rather than in flow conditions, which are standard in continuous chemical manufacturing. Industrial EAE implementation will depend on the impact of reactant depletion, product inhibition, and secondary reaction on rates, selectivities, and yields; these factors are best analyzed using a flow system. Research aims of my project include: analyzing EAE kinetics by varying reaction conditions to measure turnover rates and selectivities; determining critical intermediates on the electrocatalyst implicated by kinetic measurements using in operando Raman spectroscopy; using data from kinetic and spectroscopic studies to inform reactor and catalyst design.