Anders is currently a research associate at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
His research is focused on electrochemistry for renewable energy. Electrochemical water splitting (water electrolysis) into hydrogen and oxygen is a source of sustainable fuels if the source of the electricity is renewable, such as wind mills, solar panels, hydroelectric a.o.
Commercial water electrolysis relies on noble metal catalysts of platinum and ruthenium/iridium oxides. These catalysts contribute significant cost to the device and will eventually restrict the scale on which this technology may be implemented due to the limited reserves of these precious metals.
View the most updated list of Anders Laursen's publications and citation metrics at below external sites:
A catalyst is defined as: “A material that accelerate a chemical reaction without itself being consumed in the reaction”. This means that a catalyst will bind the reagents to the surface and assist the conversion to the products. The products are then released leaving the surface same as before reaction.
The conversion from reagent to product may go in multiple steps and not all steps are equally fast, hence the rate of the reaction will be proportional only to the rate of the slowest step the Rate Determining Step (RDS).
Sabatier’s principle (Paul Sabatier 1854-1941) states that the interaction (measured as binding energy) of a reaction intermediate (more specifically the intermediate of the RDS) to a catalyst should be neither too strong nor too weak to catalyze the reaction optimally.
This means that if one plots the reactions rate (how fast does the reaction go) as a function of the binding energy of the most important reaction step on the catalyst a so-called volcano plot appears with the optimal catalyst sitting on the top of the volcano (demonstrated below for the catalytic decomposition of H2O2 on various catalysts).
The Sabatier’s principle is a corner stone of catalysis and thus much of modern organic and inorganic chemistry and therefore it is important to introduce students to this early in their education. Our daily research involves the Sabatier principle and we therefore devised two sets of tutorial experiments target at high-school students and first year college students to introduce this concept. Catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide is a model reaction for catalytic decompositions as it is a low toxicity chemical, often used in industrial reaction. The simple reaction setup is shown below. This demonstration has been tested together with both first year students and high-school teachers to ensure the level is appropiate and may be consuducted in about 2 hour plus data treatment.
Click here for article: The Sabatier Principle Illustrated by Catalytic H2O2 Decomposition on Metal Surfaces
Full text link: DOI: 10.1021/ed101010x
Introducing electrochemistry to undergraduate and highs-school students is of the outmost importance especially as electrochemistry becomes increasingly important in a global society relying on renewable energy.
Most renewable energy comes in the form of electricity whether it be from solar panels, wind mills, or hydroelectric damms. Electricity cannot be stored without converting it to another form such as chemical energy such as a fuel or in a battery.
Click here for article: Electrochemical H2 Evolution: Sabatier's Principle and the Volcano Plot
Full text link: DOI: 10.1021/ed200818t
CO2 reduction is of critical importance to halt and eventually reduce the current increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere. CO2 is the most common product of combustion our main source of energy in the world today. Today fossil fuels powers the planet, this is especially troubling when one compares the trend in economic power with the energy consumption of various nations (see below from The European Energy Agency). It is clear that for the most part nations that consume alot of energy consumes energy to do so. Exceptions are nations (Germany, Japan, and to some extent the USA) that rely on services for their GDP (Gross Domestinc Product per capita) rather than production. This picture is skewed since these nations have exported their nescesarry agricultural and industrial production to other countries — still a clear trend remain of increased energy consumption and increased GDP.
Based on this it becomes an illution to try and limit the global consumption of energy to pre-industrial levels, this would require a significant drop in standard of living for large population groups and taking away the possibility of many countries to increase their GDP.
It seems obvious, that we must find a way to power the increasing energy consumption of our planet without increasing polution and emmisions. Several technologies have come to market that allows this such as wind mills, solar panels, hydroelectrics (and nuclear energy). The latter two cannot fuel our global energy needs due the vast land needs for hydroelectrics and the time scale of building safe nuclear reactors (not to mention the inherent waste management and security issues). The former two have the inherent draw back that the sun doesn't shine when we consume the most energy (around 5pm in North America) and windy conditions are not coinciding with these times either. This introduces the problem of "balencing" the grid. Balancing the grid means to store energy from high production - low consuption times to high consumption-low production instances. This requires storing energy, electricity has to be spent when generated — while it may be sent over large distances a global grid would be beyond unimaginable expensive — so storing is the only feasible option. Current technology can store energy in several ways: 1) mechanical energy (e.g. compressed air or pumping water into resevoirs for dams), 2) batteries, batteries has increased their power density enormously in recent year but these still require substantial quantities of scarse elements (already lithium supplies are a problem for battery producers), and 3) storing as chemical energy in fuels. The latter has the advantage of being transportable and could be stored indefinitely. Using CO2 as the storage medium would close the carbon loop and repurpose emitted CO2 as the fuel from once it came.
This research topic attempts to harnesh the catalysis of electrochemical CO2 reduction using renewable electricity. The target products should be platform chemicals and fuels that are directly implementable into current insutry and energy networks. Several products are possible:
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
610 Taylor Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854
My research is focused on the development of renewable energy and sustainble chemicals, through catalysis. Electricity is going to be the energy carrier of the future and utilizing it to make all the necessities and conveniences we enjoy in modern society is critical to conserve, and improve, our current way of life. To this end we need all the best ideas of researchers young and old and for these to work together in an unprecedented paradigm shift from a fossil fuel society used for hundreds of years to electricity based society in a shorter time than it will take to permanently change the climate on Earth.
September 2009-September 2012
Thesis Titel: Nanoscale design of molybdenum sulfides for more efficient electro- and photoelectrocatalytic hydrogen
Advisor: Prof. I. Chorkendorff and Prof. S. Dahl
September 2007-September 2009
Master of Science in Engineering: Advanced and Applied Chemistry; Specializing in: Catalysis and Nanotechnology
Thesis Titel: "Plum-pudding”-Type Catalysts
Advisor: Prof. J-D. Grunwaldt, Prof. C. H. Christensen and industrial collaborator Haldor Topsøe A/S
September 2004-September 2007
Bachelor of Science in Engineering: Technical Chemistry