Yu-Lun's research focuses on catalytic remediation of trichloroethene (TCE). TCE is one of the most common hazardous organic contaminants found in groundwater and has been linked to liver damage, impaired pregnancies, and cancers in humans. Compared to conventional physical displacement methods of air-stripping and carbon adsorption, remediation through the catalytic breakdown of TCE molecules is a more effective and desirable approach. In our group’s previous work, Pd-on-Au nanoparticles (Pd/Au NPs) has been shown to catalyze the TCE hydrodechlorination (TCE HDC) reaction in water, at room temperature, and in the presence of hydrogen, with the most active Pd/Au material found to be >70 times more active than conventional Pd supported on alumina on a per-Pd atom basis.
The potential of this Pd/Au NP catalyst as a groundwater remediation technology could be improved by immobilization. Once the active NPs can be immobilized on a solid support, a long-term continuous system becomes feasible. Successful immobilization with supports like metal oxides and ion exchange resins are continuing to be explored. On the other hand, direct synthesis of NPs on supports is also being studied. Flow reactor test, deactivation and regeneration are under investigation as well.
Y.-L. Fang, N. Akcin, K. N. Heck, M. O. Nutt, P. J. J. Alvarez and M. S. Wong, Immobilization of Pd-on-Au nanoparticle catalysts for aqueous-phase trichloroethene and chloroform hydrodechlorination, 20th North American Catalysis Society Meeting, Houston (2007).
W. C. Ketchie, Y.-L. Fang, M. S. Wong, M. Murayama and R. J. Davis, Influence of gold particle size on the aqueous-phase oxidation of carbon monoxide and glycerol, Journal of Catalysis, vol.250, p.94-101 (2007).