When joining the North-West University in 2004, Professor Cobus Kriek established the PGM Chemistry Group having moved to the NWU from The Council for Mineral Technology (Mintek). The initial research research focus was very much geared towards the Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) and could be summarised as focussing on “electron transfer to and from platinum group metals as well as the facilitation of electron transfer by platinum group metals”. To that regard the interest was on (i) the photocatalytic reduction of aqueous platinum group metal species as a means of recovery, (ii) the oxidative leaching of metallic or mineral based platinum group metal species as a means of recovery/recycling, and (iii) the research and development of platinum group metal based electrocatalysts for electrolysis and fuel cells.
Within the Electrochemistry for Energy & Environment Group, we are interested in the research and development of metal-based electrocatalysts and photo-electrocatalysts. These include extended vapour deposited surfaces (thin films) and/or nanoparticles, for energy conversion and storage that include electrolytic reactions (oxygen evolution) and fuel cell reactions (oxygen reduction).