Yi Yang, Division of Applied Physical Chemistry
Yi Yang’s doctoral thesis focuses on the design and synthesis of cost-effective catalysts used in fuel cells and water electrolyzers.
“The electrolyzers and fuel cells are responsible for hydrogen production and usage, respectively. The two are important tools to achieve carbon-neutrality and contribute to mitigating global climate change.”
How does it work?
“Fuel cells generally convert the chemical energy of hydrogen (in most cases) and oxygen into electricity with electrochemical redox reactions. It is highly efficient and without any carbon emissions. Water electrolyzers can split water using green electricity (generated from renewable energy sources) and therefore produce green hydrogen.”
What impact could your research have on society?
“The development of cost-effective (Pt-free) catalysts will decrease the overall cost of fuel cells and fuel cell-based products such as fuel cell vehicles. In that way, fuel cell-based products can become more commercialized and give people more options for using this green energy in daily life without worrying about carbon emission issues.”
How did you become interested in this subject?
“It dates back to one of the fundamental courses during my undergraduate studies. The teacher, who is also my supervisor, showed us the fantastic technology of fuel cells and the related key materials (catalysts), after that, I was totally attracted by the subject and started my fuel cell catalysts research journey.”
Tell us about an exciting moment during your time as a doctoral student.
“One of the most exciting moments was the pre-acceptance of one of our manuscripts. We submitted the manuscript and after one-month peer review, the editor just informed us it was pre-accepted, which was beyond our expectations. We struggled a lot for the publication of the work before that one, although it was accepted eventually. So, I would say, usually, you can enjoy a tastier fruit only when you suffer a bit first.”
What challenges did you face?
“One of the biggest challenges I faced was when I became a father in 2019. It was also around the time the pandemic started. I had to take care of the baby together with my wife and try my best to get rid of the virus and avoid infection among the family members. I also need to think about my research work and courses. It was totally a mass at some point. But finally, I made it, with huge help and encouragement from my supervisor and colleagues.”
Contact Yi Yang: firstname.lastname@example.org