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College of Engineering

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Peter Fedkiw

Professor, Department Head

Engineering Building I (EB1) 2006

919-515-3572

Bio

Electrochemical reaction engineering is our research interest: the conception, analysis, design, experimental verification, and control of electrochemical devices for energy production or storage, the formation of chemical products, or theseparation of components in a mixture.

A part of our research effort involves studies of composite polymer electrolytes for lithium batteries based on functionalized fumed silica. This work is motivated, in part, by the need for advanced light-weight batteries for portable electronic systems. All portable electronic devices require electrical power, often supplied through a rechargeable battery. The state of battery technology, however, has not kept pace with the miniaturization of electronic circuits, and the battery is often the largest and heaviest component of a device. Only recently, lithium-ion batteries have been introduced which are a new generation of rechargeable batteries. In these cells a lithium intercalation, transition-metal oxide positive electrode is coupled with a carbon-based, lithium intercalation negative electrode. The specific mass and volumetric energy density (W·h/kg and W·h/l, respectively) of lithium-ion cells exceed that of any rechargeable battery currently available, which translates to less weight and longer discharge for the device. The next significant advance in battery technology is anticipated to be the development of a rechargeable lithium battery. In these cells lithium metal is the negative electrode, and thereby, the additional weight and volume of carbon in the lithium-ion battery anode are eliminated. In addition to portable consumer electronics, the electric vehicle is also a driver for the commercialization of rechargeable lithium batteries. Our research is a contribution to the development of a rechargeable lithium battery which might be used in these (and other) applications.

We also study perfluorinated ionomer thin films for high-current efficiency redox reactions to regenerate redox reagents which are typically discarded. Other studies in our lab include the use of metallized polymeric-electrolyte-membrane reactors, the use of metallized yttria-doped zirconia electrolytes for electrochemical reduction of NOx, and kinetic studies of methanol oxidation as a contribution to the development of an electric automobile.

Research Description

Focus Areas - Electrochemical Reaction Engineering. Electrocatalysis. Electrochemical Energy Conversion. Environmental Applications of Electrochemistry.

Education

B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware (1974)
Ph.D. , Chemical Engineering, University of California (1978)