Akansha Goyal

PhD candidate
Leiden University

About myself

I am from India and I can speak English, Hindi and Punjabi. In my free time, I like to read books (fiction and non-fiction), attend concerts, go to museums and eat good food, preferably made by other people.

As a researcher I am passionate about

As a researcher, I am passionate about expanding my knowledge on electrocatalysis by learning from the experts in the field and hopefully reciprocate it, by expanding the current understanding through my work. I am mainly interested in answering questions that tickle my scientific curiosity. This leads to my interest in fundamental sciences, where we try to understand why something is the way it is, which can eventually lead to rational design for practical applications as well. The most fun part of course, is the prospect of life-long learning.

At the moment I work on

I started my research in October 2017. The project I work on has to find a route to react water and CO2 using electricity in order to create fuel molecules, a so called electrochemical reduction reaction. I am looking into the role of the electrode-electrolyte interface (‘double layer effect’) on the kinetics of CO2 reduction reaction and the competing hydrogen evolution reaction. The aim of this project is to move beyond the existing knowledge on the role of the catalyst surface on product selectivity and instead look at the role of the local concentration gradients on the competition between CO2 reduction and hydrogen evolution, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Within ARC CBBC, I wish to accomplish

Within ARC CBBC, I wish to gain insights into the role of the electrolyte on the product selectivity of CO2 reduction reaction. Environmentally, it is inevitable now that CO2 capture and storage will be required in the future, so why not look into the conversion of CO2 into something economically viable. If this quest is successful, carbon neutral energy cycle will be a boon for all humanity, businesses and society alike.