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Dr. Joel W. Ager
Dr. Joel W. Ager Joel W. Ager III is a Staff Scientist in the Materials Sciences Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and an Adjunct Full Professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department, UC Berkeley. He is a Principal Investigator in the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), in the Electronic Materials Program, and in the Singapore Berkeley Initiative for Sustainable Energy (SinBeRISE).

Biography

​Joel W. Ager III is a Staff Scientist in the Materials Sciences Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and an Adjunct Full Professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department, UC Berkeley. He is a Principal Investigator in the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), in the Electronic Materials Program, and in the Singapore Berkeley Initiative for Sustainable Energy (SinBeRISE). He graduated from Harvard College in 1982 with an A.B in Chemistry and from the University of Colorado in 1986 with a PhD in Chemical Physics. After a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Heidelberg, he joined Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1989.

His research interests include the fundamental electronic and transport characteristics of photovoltaic materials, development of new photoanodes and photocathodes for solar fuels production, CO2 reduction electrocatalysis, and the development of new oxide and sulfide based transparent conductors. Professor Ager is a frequent invited speaker at international conferences and has published over 300 papers in refereed journals. His work is highly cited, with over 25,000 citations and an h-index of 78 (Google Scholar).

All sessions by Dr. Joel W. Ager

  • Day 2Monday, February 26th
Conference
11:50 am

Efficient Solar-Driven CO2 Reduction Producing Hydrocarbons and Oxygenates

Solar-driven conversion processes yielding fuels and commodity chemicals could provide an alternative to mankind’s currently unsustainable use of fossil fuels [1]. Photoelectrochemical (PEC)
Achieving a viable solar-driven EC CO2 reduction energy conversion efficiency requires minimizing potential losses in all aspects of the device including the cathode, anode, electrolyte, and membrane. Achieving selective products requires management of multi-electron transfer reactions [4]. Strategies to optimize each component of a CO2 electrolyzer cell to obtain high selectivity and energy conversion efficiency at low overpotential will be described. An overall cell design which has efficient gas to liquid mass transfer of CO2 is employed [5]. Use of a CsHCO3 buffered electrolyte increases selectivity to C2+ products such as ethylene and ethanol [6,7]. A nanostructured IrOx anode has been synthesized, which shows superior stability and high performance for oxygen evolution in the pH range of interest for CO2 reduction. Use of a bimetallic CuAg nanocoral type cathode enables selectivity to hydrocarbons and oxygenates over a wide range of pH and cell voltage conditions.

Solar-driven CO2 reduction is accomplished by coupling the optimized electrolyzer to cell to Si solar cells. 1 sun efficiencies of over 4% for the production of hydrocarbons and oxygenates (e.g. ethylene, ethanol, propanol) are achieved. Notably, the overall system also functions at >3% conversion efficiency at illumination intensities down to 0.3 suns. Use of a 4-terminal III-V/Si tandem cell leads to a conversion efficiency to hydrocarbons and oxygenates of over 5% [8].

Finally, methods to achieve product separation [9] will be discussed in the context of an overall life cycle assessment of the system.

Auditorium between Building 4 and 5 11:50 - 12:20 Details