Emmanuel Kayiwa

MIT Department: Materials Science and Engineering

Undergraduate Institution: Marquette University

Faculty Mentor: Yang Shao-Horn

Research Supervisor: Jonathan Hwang

Website: LinkedIn


I was born in Rwanda which is a small country in east Africa. I am currently a rising senior at Marquette University studying Environmental Engineering and Chemistry. I am highly interested in electrochemical desalination, energy storage systems, and synthesizing novel materials at the nanoscale in order to exploit their uses for practical applications. I would like to pursue research at the nexus of water and energy in order to increase the standard of living for people in developing nations. My long-term goals are to earn a PhD in one of the aforementioned research areas. When I’m not in lab I enjoy reading, playing board games with friends and watching soccer.

2018 Research Abstract

Copper-Palladium Bimetallic Electrodes for Electrocatalytic Conversion of CO2 to Low Carbon Fuels

Emmanuel Kayiwa1, Jonathan Hwang2 and Yang Shao-Horn3

1Department of Environmental Engineering and Chemistry, Marquette University

2, 3Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Selective and efficient conversion of aqueous carbon dioxide (CO2) to a reusable form of carbon through electrochemical reduction is a promising approach for the storage of renewable energy or producing high-value chemicals.  Herein, we fabricate copper-palladium bimetallic electrocatalysts of varying compositions capable of selectively reducing CO2 to low carbon fuels (e.g CH4, CH3OH etc.) via confocal magnetron sputtering. The face centered cubic electrocatalyst geometry that contained more copper, Cu3Pd, produced the greatest amount methane at a faradaic efficiency of 29%. Alloying also affected reaction intermediates binding strength due to palladium electronically altering adjacent copper atoms which facilitated product desorption while inhibiting parasitic reactions. The insights gained in this work may provide a foundation for designing efficient electrocatalysts for low carbon fuels or chemical feedstock.