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Tufts University Prof. Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos named as AAAS Fellow
Date:12/18/2008

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos of Tufts University's School of Engineering has been selected as an AAAS Fellow for distinguished contributions to the field of catalysis, particularly for new insights in oxidation reactions on nanoscale metal oxides in fuel conversion and pollutant processes.

Election as Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAS members by their peers. Flytzani-Stephanopoulos, professor in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, was one of 486 members named as a Fellow.

Flytzani-Stephanopoulos's research group has been active in designing catalysts with a reduced amount of precious metals used to generate high-grade hydrogen for fuel cells. The water-gas shift reaction, in which carbon monoxide is removed from the fuel cell by reacting with water to produce carbon dioxide and hydrogen, is a key step in fuel processing hydrogen. Catalysts, such as metal oxides prepared with precious metals like platinum, are used to lower the reaction temperature and increase the production of hydrogen.

The Tufts group was first to demonstrate that catalysts prepared with atomic-level dispersions of gold or platinum in oxide supports, such as cerium oxide or iron oxide, show the highest activity for the water-gas shift reaction. Adding more metal to form nanoparticles on the support oxide does not improve the activity; it simply wastes the precious metal. Highly active and stable catalysts are required for integration in fuel cell systems. To improve the stability of the precious metal with temperature and length of operating time, the Tufts group was first to show that adding small amounts of gaseous oxygen could have the desired structural effect of keeping gold fully dispersed and available to react.

Professor Stephanopoulos and her research group are presently investigating ways to further improve the activity of doped metal oxides by identifying which oxide structure binds gold str
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Contact: Alex Reid
Alexander.reid@tufts.edu
617-627-4173
Tufts University
Source:Eurekalert

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