Time: October 16th, 2018, 09:00am
Venue: 1st Floor Conference Room, Basic Energy Builiding
Lecturer: Ryuhei Nakamura, RIKEN
Waste heat is a major factor which decreases the efficiency of industrial processes. Here, I review our past efforts to understand how deep sea hydrothermal vents promote difficult chemical reactions such as CO2 reduction using thermal energy. I will first cover how temperature and chemical gradients are utilized to drive reactions which are seemingly thermodynamically unfavorable. I will then discuss how these thermodynamic driving forces can be harnessed to drive specific reactions selectively. The emergence of complex functionality, such as enhancing the electrochemical driving force or proactively regulating the reaction selectivity in “messy environments”, are heavily dependent on the structural and material properties of the chimney wall. However, the degree of structural optimization is much less rigid than those of modern enzymes, and is instead based almost entirely on fundamental laws of physical chemistry. As the same principles concerning the usage of heat and chemical energy may be employed in industrial chemical processes, I believe that deep sea hydrothermal vents are an effective blueprint for modern chemical plants.
Ryuhei Nakamura received his Dr. Degree in Science in 2005 from Osaka University under the supervision of Prof. Yoshihiro Nakato. After working as a JSPS postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Heinz Frei in Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), he joined the University of Tokyo as an assistant professor in 2006. In 2013, he was appointed to Team Leader (PI) in RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS). In 2017, he concurrently serves as a Professor of Earth Life Science Institute (ELSI) at Tokyo Institute of Technology. In ELSI, he has intended to integrate electrochemistry, microbiology, and geology to seek one of the vital questions of general science, the Origin of Life. His group has been working on developing biologically inspired catalysts and their application to energy conversion and production systems. Specifically, the group attempts to exploit the nature's ingenuities for multi-electron catalytic reaction, metabolic regulation by external redox stimuli, as well as employ robust energy management in the deep sea environment to develop novel materials and systems necessary to effectively manage renewable energy sources.
Contact: ZHENG Min, DNL16