Towards Solving the Energy Crisis
Dr. Mu-Hyun Baik came to Andrews to talk to us about “Towards Solving the Energy Crisis: Mechanistic Studies on Catalytically Splitting Water.” He came from Indiana University, bringing some of their paraphernalia with him, and gave a very interesting presentation on his current research. The seminar started with Dr. Baik giving some information about himself, and the reasons he chose to research this subject area, one of which was his wife.
One of the things Dr. Baik talked about was the use of computer simulations in their research. The positive side of using the computer simulations is that they rarely fail to give results, unfortunately those results need to be carefully analyzed to determine if the results are real, if they are relevant, and if they are useful. The use of computer simulations needs to have a close interaction with the experiments, and Dr. Baik informed us that he also does a lot of lab work.
The purpose of the research that has been done is to find an efficient way of splitting water and using the four electrons that would be released to use in the conversion of carbon dioxide to fossil fuels. The part of this reaction that Dr. Baik has been working on is to create a catalyst that would do this quickly and be able to do billions of cycles without dying. The catalyst they have been working on in the lab at this point is a ruthenium complex, but their long-term goal is to be able to use an iron complex.
I would describe this seminar to a friend as creating a reaction to split water molecules and use the energy obtained to help solve the energy crisis.