Wenzhen Li

Wenzhen Li


Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering

Faculty Advisor, Alternative Fuels Group Enterprise

  • PhD, Physical Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • BE, Chemical Engineering, Dalian University of Technology


Our research is at the interface of science and engineering. With the world’s increasing energy demand, the depletion of “easy” oil and gas fields, and the impact of CO2 emissions on the Earth’s climate, people have been forced to seek clean and sustainable energy resources. Lignocellulosic biomass can significantly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, alleviate greenhouse gas emissions, and improve energy security, and thus it is expected to share a big portion in our future energy landscape. The mission of our Catalysis and Electrochemical Energy Lab (CEEL) is to explore electrocatalytic processing of biomass-derived compounds (and CO2) to efficient production of electricity, valuable chemicals and fuels. Our current research work include advanced electrocatalysts and electrochemical processes, cogeneration of electricity and valuable chemicals from biorenewable polyols, electrocatalytic processing of biomass, storage of renewable electricity into hydrocarbon fuels from ligocellulosic compounds (electrobiofuels),  electroreduction of CO2 to fuels (electrofuels), and high-performance, low cost fuel cells. Our research is currently supported by NSF, ACS-PRF and DOD-NRL.

Research Interests

  • Electrocatalysis
  • Electrochemical Energy
  • Fuel Cells
  • Nanomaterials
  • Electrofuels
  • Electrobiofuels


  • Zhiyong Zhang, Karren L. More, Kai Sun, Zili Wu, Wenzhen Li*, Preparation and chanracterization of PdFe nanoleaves as electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction reaction, Chemistry of Materials, 2011, 23, 1570-1577.
  • Wenzhen Li*, Chapter 5. Electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 to small organic molecule fuels on metal catalysts, 55-76, in ACS Book: Advances in CO2 Conversion and Utilization, Editor: Yun Hang Hu, 2010.
  • Changhai Liang*, Ling Ding, Chuang Li, Min Pang, Dangsheng Su, Wenzhen Li, Nanostructured WCx/CNTs as highly efficient electrocatalyst support with low Pt loading for methanol-tolerant oxygen reduction reaction, Energy & Environmental Science, 2010, 3, 1121 - 1127. (SCI: 2)
  • Zhiyong Zhang, Le Xin, Ji Qi, Zhichao Wang, Wenzhen Li*, Selective electro-oxidation of glycerol to glycolate on carbon nanotube supported gold catalyst, Green Chemistry, 5.472, 2012, DOI:10.1039/C2GC35505A
  • Le Xin, Zhiyong Zhang, Ji Qi, David Chadderdon, Wenzhen Li*, Electrocatalytic oxidation of ethylene glycol (EG) on supported Pt and Au catalysts: Reaction pathway investigation in three-electrode cell and fuel cell reactors, Applied Catalysis B Environmental, 2012, 125, 85-94.
  • Le Xin, Zhiyong Zhang, Zhichao Wang, Ji Qi, Wenzhen Li*, Simultaneous generation of mesoxalic acid and electricity from glycerol on Au anode catalyst in anion exchange membrane fuel cells, ChemCatChem, 2012, cctc.201200017.
  • Zhiyong Zhang, Le Xin, Wenzhen Li*, Electrocatalytic oxidation of glycerol on Pt/C in anion exchange membrane fuel cell: Cogeneration of electricity and valuable chemicals, Applied Catalysis B Environmental, 2012, 119, 40-48.