This joint proposal aims to explore the development of advanced catalytic systems via laser synthesis for a variety of clean energy and sustainable applications, such as metal-air batteries, fuel cells, and green hydrogen production, both extremely timely topics in Russia and China. At this initial stage, the new catalysts will be designed for hydrogen production by water electrolysis, which is promising to contribute significantly toward “green hydrogen” and “carbon neutralization”.
Titanium (Ti) exhibits excellent corrosion resistance in acidic, alkaline, and salt solutions, rendering it a superior catalyst support to address serious corrosion and metal dissolution challenges in current electrolysis systems. However, Ti showed relatively poor catalytic activity and has limited surface areas for efficient H2 production and guided transport. This joint collaboration will address this problem by using ultrafast laser synthesis for the surface alloying and patterning, which are designed to significantly improve both its activity and stability (by surface alloying) and mass transport (by pattern design), aiming for largely improved energy efficiency and durability in the practical water electrolysis system.
The proposed project will combine expertise in materials design, synthesis, characterization, and advanced application from both PIs. In particular, the project will investigate the synthesis of novel multielement (high entropy) catalysts by Prof. Yonggang Yao at HUST (prior works published in Science 2018 and Science 2022) on Ti substrate, which are especially promising for water electrolysis. Prof. Alina Manshina of SPBU specializes in laser deposition techniques for fabricating metal coatings with various nanostructures on free form metal substrates, and will investigate the pattern-transport correlations. In the part of material structure design, catalysts with a series of compositions and structures will be synthesized and their catalytic activity and mass transfer behaviours will be assessed to determine the optimal catalysts and morphology. Advanced tools such as high throughput experimentation by laser and machine learning guide design will be employed to accelerate the material and structure optimization, including the laser process parameters, such as frequency, power, pulse width, and pattern. By integrating research on composition design and structure design, an advanced Ti-based multi-element or high entropy alloy catalyst will be developed to facilitate efficient and stable water electrolysis. The detailed work plan (WP) is presented below.

WP1 –Surface alloying in HUST and Ti surface modification with target metals and surface patterning at SPBU - June, July
WP2 - Synthesis of electrocatalysts on patterned Ti and test water electrolysis performance (HUST/ SPBU) - August, September, October
WP3 - Optimizing laser process parameters(SPBU) - November, December
WP4 – Visit labs (SPBU/HUST) - October, December

The current proposal aims to contribute to the most pressing need for clean energy revolution and a more sustainable society. According to the Paris Agreement (PA), many countries in the world have strategical plans to achieve zero carbon emissions by the middle of the 21st century, i.e. Carbon neutralization. Catalysis enables highly efficient energy conversion production and is the cornerstone of the modern chemical industry and future clean energy revolution, including fuel cells, metal-air batteries, green hydrogen production, etc. The proposed rational design of highly active and stable catalysis utilizes the strength of both PIs and is expected to have an impact on the water electrolysis to the production of hydrogen and can be easily extended to further applications (i.e. carbon fixation).
Both China and Russia have national strategies priorities in development of green alterative to fossil fuels and green carbon science in the entire carbon cycles. Renewable energy will replace traditional fossil fuels on a large scale in the future and hydrogen energy will play an important role in this process. Furthermore, green hydrogen obtained from renewable power electrolysis water will truly achieve carbon-free and clean energy. This project aims to contribute to the green hydrogen production and enhance the impact on reducing anthropogenic climate change, which also can obvious benefit to the economy and societal wellbeing of both countries.
On the HUST side, such collaboration is at the core of “HUST Global Strategy 2030” to (1) the strategic goal of “four forces to improve” for global development, (2) “six strategic paths”, and (3) “ten key tasks”. Aiming to serve the national strategy, solve the problems faced by national development, and also serve the general trend of the country to the center of the world stage, reflecting HUST’s own disciplinary characteristics, regional characteristics, platforms and talent advantages.
On the SPBU side, after Russia released the "Russia's Social and Economic Development Strategy to Achieve Low Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050". St. Petersburg State University responded positively and carried out comprehensive strategic cooperation with universities such as Harbin Institute of Technology in the field of carbon neutrality and peaking, and jointly established 6 Sino-Russian joint research centers including plasma physics application technology, ecological environment, applied mathematics, and advanced materials. A variety of measures will be taken to promote Russia's "Goal Plan" based on energy transition.
The current proposal only touches base on using the designed catalytic system for water electrolysis. The collected data and study this year will contribute significantly to understanding the structure-property relationship in catalyzing water electrolysis, thus enabling further material design and optimization in the huge multielement composition space with a rational guide.

In year 2, continuous innovation is required to advance the design of the catalyst to improve the performances in practical water electrolysis system, including its activity, stability, cost, and on-site performances, contributing to real equipment application. Moreover, the proposed highly efficient catalysts are not limited to water electrolysis and can be generally applicable to other important reactions in clean energy and sustainability, such as fuel cells, metal-air batteries, carbon dioxide reduction, nitrogen fixation, etc. The current funds requested will initiate the collaboration and lay a foundation for more comprehensive research and funding in the future.

The PI’s will apply to the funding bodies and calls mentioned in the ‘Outputs’ section to support their joint research and promote PhD, postdocs and PI’s mobility to facilitate this collaboration.
Short titleЛазерное легирование
AcronymJSF HUST 2024
Effective start/end date17/05/2431/12/24

ID: 121071069