Allison Moyer (3283)

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2020 Honors Fellowships (3283)

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2020 Honors Fellowships (3283)
Allison Moyer (3283)
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Title: The Use of Humic Acids as Sacrificial Electron Donors in Systems for Artificial Photosynthesis


Solar power provides a virtually untapped resource; in under two hours, the sun can provide enough harvestable energy to power the world for an entire year. Chemists have found a way to use solar energy to make chemical fuel from sunlight using photocatalytic cells, specifically focusing on the hydrogen evolution half-reaction. Traditionally, this requires an expensive transition metal catalyst and large concentrations of a sacrificial donor such as triethylamine. However, using a more readily available and cost-effective substance would make this method of harvesting solar energy far more accessible and sustainable for the future. One promising replacement for the sacrificial donor is humic acids, which are macromolecules readily found in natural water sources. They provide a source of hydrated electrons, which are strongly reducing. Therefore, I hypothesize that humic acids can act as a renewable source of electrons and replace sacrificial donors.

Hometown: Clinton, New Jersey

Department: Chemistry

Advisor: William McNamara

All William & Mary Honors Fellowships fundraising supports the Charles Center Honors Fellowships Fund. Direct support for individual undergraduate research projects is distributed by the Roy R. Charles Center for Academic Excellence

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