Welcome to Catalysis and Electrochemical Energy Laboratory (CEEL)


Our interdisciplinary research is at the interface of Science and Engineering. We are exploring electrochemical processing of biorenewables, CO2, N2 for chemicals or fuels manufacturing. Our current research activities include development of advanced electrocatalysts, exploration of novel electrochemical processes and systems, storage of renewable electricity into hydrocarbon fuels from biomass feedstock, electroreduction of CO2 to fuels, ammonia electrosynthesis, electrocatalytic oxygen reduction and evolution, high-performance and low cost fuel cells and electrolyzers, novel concept flow batteries, and photoelectrolysis for water splitting.

Positions Available

Two graduate research assistant (GRA) positions are available in Li’s research group. The candidates are expected to be highly self-motivated, and have strong interest (with related research experiences preferred) in electrochemistry, electrocatalysis, photochemistry, photocatalysis and photoelectrochemical materials. The research areas are photoelectrolysis for water splitting, and novel concept flow battery for energy storage. Interested candidates should send a complete CV and a list of three referee names to: Dr. Wenzhen Li (Email: wzli@iastate.edu).

A postdoctoral position on ammonia electrosynthesis is available in Li’s research group. The candidate is expected to be highly self-motivated, and have extensive experiences on synthesis and characterizations of metal oxide nanoparticle catalysts and/or ionic conducting materials, electrodes and membrane electrode assembly fabrications, electrolyzer tests and analysis. Interested candidates should send a complete CV and arrange at least two confidential letters of recommendation sent to: Dr. Wenzhen Li (E-mail: wzli@iastate.edu).

Our weekly group meeting is scheduled at BRL 2nd floor interaction room 1:00-3:00 every Friday afternoon. We welcome graduate and undergraduate students who are interested in catalysis, fuel cells, biorenewables and energy research to attend our group meeting.
Sept 2017,  Our collaborative research with Tessonnier group on “Mechanisms of Furfural Reduction on Metal Electrodes: Distinguishing Pathways for Selective Hydrogenation of Bioderived Oxygenates” has been accepted for publication by the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Congratulations Xiaotong and David, Good work! DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b06331
Jun 2017, Li group received two ARPA-E project subcontracts to develop electrodes and electrocatalysts for ammonia synthesis at low and intermediate temperatures.
May 2017, David and Xiaotong gave two talks on "mechanisms of electrochemical reduction of furfural" and "photoelectrocatalysts for TEMPO-mediated alcohol oxidations" at New Orlean ECS meeting.
May 2017, Dr. Li gave invited talks at Dalian University of Technology, Dalian University of Technology - Panjin campus, and Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, China.
Mar 2017, Neeva successfully defended her PhD dissertation on "Electrochemical conversion of biorenewable feedstocks in alkaline membrane fuel cells" - Congratulations Neeva!
Feb 2017, Dr. Li gave his talk in Materials Science and Engineering department, Iowa State. 
Dec 2016, Li group’s recent work on "membraneless fuel cell" was accepted for publication in Renewable Energy, congratulations Neeva and Ji!
Nov. 2016, Dr. Li gave his talk at Frontier in Biorefining conference at Simons Island, GA.
Nov 2016, David, Xiaotong and Neeva gave their research presentations at San Francisco AIChE conference.
Sept-Oct 2016, Dr. Li gave his talk at Mississippi State, U. Kansas and Penn State. 
Aug 2016, Li group’s recent work on "PdAg bimetallic catalysts for glycerol oxidation" was accepted for publication in Applied Catalysis B Environmental, congratulations Neeva and Ji!
Jul 2016, Li group’s recent work on direct fast pyrolysis fuel cell was accepted for publication in Fuel, congratulations Neeva!
Jul 2016, Dr. Li received ISU Bailey Research Career Development Award to support his new research direction in photoelectrolysis of biorenewables for valuable chemicals. We are grateful to the generous estate gift from Carl and Grace Bailey!
Jun 2016, Li group’s recent work on PdAg/CNT anode catalysts for anion exchange membrane direct alcohol fuel cell was published in Applied Catalysis B Environmental. Congratulations Ji!
Jun 2016, Li group received a grant from Iowa Energy Center on technoeconomic analysis of electrochemical systems.
May 2016, Dr. Li gave an invited talk in Chemistry Department at University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Dec 2015, Ji Qi successfully defended his PhD dissertation titled "Electrocatalysts Design for Selective Oxidation of Organic Molecules in High-Performance Fuel Cells". Congratulations to Ji!
Nov 2015, Li group’s collaborative research with Dr. Shanks on N,S-doped mesoporous carbon-based cathode catalysts for direct birenewable alcohol fuel cells was accepted for publication in Journal of Materials Chemistry A. Congratulations Yang!
Oct 2015, Prof. Li was honored as inaugural CBE Seagrave Professor, we thank the generous donors of the Seagrave Professorship so much!
Oct 2015, Li group's recent work in collaboration with Prof. Michael Janik at Penn State - "Selective Oxidation of 1,2-Propanediol in Alkaline Anion-Exchange Membrane Electrocatalytic Flow Reactors: Experimental and DFT Investigations" was accepted for publication in ACS Catalysis. Congratulations David!
Jul 2015, Dr. Li visited China universities and institutes, and gave invited talks at Dalian University of Technology, Huazhong University of Science and Technology and Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics.
Nov 2014, Li group has demonstrated a prototype of completely metal catalyst free anion exchange membrane fuel cell with 3D graphene or multi-wall carbon nanotube anode and N-doped carbon nanotube cathode. The work was accepted for publication in ChemSusChem and Carbon. Ji and Neeva: Congratulations!
Oct 2014, Dr. Li gave an invited talk in IUPUI Electrochemical Energy Center.
Sept 2014, Dr. Li gave an invited talk in Kansas State Chemical Engineering Department.
Aug 2014, Li group's first modeling paper "Numerical analysis of anion exchange membrane direct glycerol fuel cells under steady state and dynamic operations" was accepted for publication in International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. Xiaotong and David: Congratulations!
Aug 2014, Li Group moved to Iowa State University, pursuing research excellence in electrocatalysis, electrochemical energy and biorenewables.
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