Dr. Samuel Perry’s work has the potential to reduce both carbon emissions and fossil fuel use at the same time – he told us how ‘talking to everyone’ keeps him motivated.
We are working on a new electrochemical reactor for converting carbon dioxide into ethylene oxide. We plan to capture carbon dioxide to use in our reactor before it’s released into the environment and use it to synthesize a product that is usually sourced from fossil fuels. In this way, we have a two-fold environmental benefit: lowering carbon emissions and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.
In order to achieve this, there are a number of sizeable hurdles we need to pass. How do we increase the selectivity of our catalyst towards the final product? How can we increase its stability so the catalyst materials don't degrade? These are the challenges that my team and I are working to solve.
I get a great sense of satisfaction from bringing together researchers from completely different backgrounds to tackle a common goal. For our last project to develop a new carbon dioxide reduction catalyst, I brought together researchers from four different institutes with expertise in electrochemistry, engineering, organic synthesis, and vapor deposition. The enthusiasm and opportunity in such a multidisciplinary environment are always inspiring and makes every day exciting!
Q: What kind of mindset do you need to achieve the Next Great Impossible?
A: Talk to everyone! Discussions with colleagues, peers, friends, and family can give new perspectives on old ideas. It's amazing how many ideas can come from what was supposed to be an informal chat over a cup of coffee.