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Prof Kenneth Ozoemena

Prof Kenneth Ozoemena

Position: Professor of Materials for Energy & Electrochemistry
BSc Hons (ABSU, Nigeria), double MSc (Unilag, Nigeria), PhD (Rhodes), PGDHE (Pretoria), MDP (Pretoria), CChem, CSci, MASSAf, FRSC, FAAS
011 717 6730
C304 (Humphrey Raikes Building)

Ozoemena group
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Prof Kenneth (Ikechukwu) Ozoemena obtained his PhD degree in Chemistry from Rhodes University (2003) and worked at the same University as Andrew Mellon Lecturer in Chemistry between 2004 and 2006. After a stint at the University of Pretoria as a Senior Lecturer in Chemistry (2006 – 2009) he moved to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria (2009) where he worked as the Chief Research Scientist and Research Group Leader of the Electrochemical Energy Technologies (focusing mainly on the R&D of advanced lithium-ion batteries, supercapacitors and fuel cells). Ken joined Wits University in 2017 as Professor of Materials for Energy and Electrochemistry. He serves on the editorial Boards of several leading science journals, including Electrochemistry Communications (Elsevier), Current Opinions in Electrochemistry (Elsevier) and Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing).

Research Interests

Ozoemena group runs highly multi-disciplinary electrochemistry-related research interests spanning renewable energy, materials science and engineering. The aim is to understand the properties of new materials for possible development of energy systems and general electrochemical application. In summary, there are three research areas, viz:

  • Energy storage
  • Fuel cells & electrolyzers

We focus on the next-generation batteries (notably Li-S, Na-ion and Li-ion batteries) and electrochemical capacitors (including micro-supercapacitors) which are critical for the ever-advancing consumer electronics, electric vehicles, micro-grids, and for application in extreme environments such as oil & gas, military and space. One of the major challenges that conspire against the performance of electrode materials for modern batteries and electrochemical capacitors is ‘capacity fading’ (i.e., loss of capacity upon repetitive cycling). We are solving this problem by the adoption of a plethora of synthetic strategies aimed at tuning the redox-chemistry and stabilizing the structure of the materials.

Over the years, we have led the study of some new nanostructured electrocatalysts for fuel cell technologies. We are currently exploring the use of microwave-assisted synthesis to develop Pd-based electrocatalysts for fuel cells. Also, we are exploring the use of MN-4 macrocyclic catalysts for both fuel cells and electrolyzers. For example, one of our new projects involves the development of novel MN-4 macrocyclic catalysts for efficient electrocatalytic conversion of CO2 to useful liquid fuels.

  • Electrochemical sensors

With the collaboration of our local and international colleagues, we will be exploring the development electrochemistry-based sensors for resource-limited environments. The aim is for such electrochemical sensors to meet most (if not all) of the WHO’s ASSURED criteria (Affordable, Sensitive, Specific, User-friendly, Robust and rapid, Equipment-free, and Deliverable to those who need them).



Nanomaterials in Advanced Batteries and Supercapacitors (Edited by Kenneth I. Ozoemena and Shaowei Chen) Springer Publishing, New York, USA, 2016, (ISBN: 978-3-319-26080-8)

Nanomaterials for Fuel Cell Catalysis (Edited by Kenneth I. Ozoemena and Shaowei Chen) Springer Publishing, New York, USA,  2016 (ISBN: 978-3-319-26249-9)


Articles (for all the publications, please Click here)

K. Makgopa, K. Raju, P.M. Ejikeme, KI Ozoemena*, High-performance Mn 3 O 4/onion-like carbon (OLC) nanohybrid pseudocapacitor: Unravelling the intrinsic properties of OLC against other carbon supports, Carbon 2017, 117, 20-32

P.M. Ejikeme, K. Makgopa, K. Raju, K.I. Ozoemena*, “Promotional Effects of Nanodiamond-Derived Onion-Like Carbons on the Electrocatalytic Properties of Pd-MnO2 for the Oxidation of Glycerol in Alkaline Medium”, ChemElectroChem, 2016, 3, 2243-2251 (Invited article)

K.I. Ozoemena*, “Nanostructured platinum-free electrocatalysts in alkaline direct alcohol fuel cells: Catalyst design, principles and applications”, RSC Adv., 2016, 6, 89523 - 89550 (Invited Review)

T.N.Y. Khawula, K.Raju, P.J. Franklyn, I. Sigalas, K.I. Ozoemena*, “The Effects of Morphology Re-Arrangements on the Pseudocapacitive Properties of Mesoporous Molybdenum Disulfide (MoS2) Nanoflakes, J. Electrochem. Soc. 2016, 163, A1927-A1935.

T.N.Y. Khawula, K.Raju, P.J. Franklyn, I. Sigalas, K.I. Ozoemena*, “Symmetric pseudocapacitors based on molybdenum disulfide (MoS2)-modified carbon nanospheres: correlating physicochemistry and synergistic interaction on energy storage”, J. Mater. Chem. A., 2016, 4, 6411-6425

K. Raju, F.P. Nkosi, E. Viswanathan, M.K. Mathe, K. Damodaran, K.I. Ozoemena*, “Microwave-enhanced electrochemical cycling performance of the LiNi0.2Mn1.8O4 spinel cathode material at elevated temperature”, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2016, 18, 13074-13083.

K. Raju and K.I. Ozoemena*, “Hierarchical One-Dimensional Ammonium Nickel Phosphate Microrods for High-Performance Pseudocapacitors”, Scientific Reports 2015, 5, 17629.

O.O. Fashedemi, H.A. Miller, A. Marchionni, F. Vizza, K.I. Ozoemena*, “Electro-oxidation of ethylene glycol and glycerol at palladium-decorated FeCo@Fe core–shell nanocatalysts for alkaline direct alcohol fuel cells: functionalized MWCNT supports and impact on product selectivity”, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2015, 3, 7145–7156.

K. Lawrence, C.L. Baker, T.D. James, S.D. Bull, R. Lawrence, J.M. Mitchels, M. Opallo, O.A. Arotiba, K.I. Ozoemena, F. Marken, “Functionalised Carbon Nanoparticles, Blacks and Soots as Electron Transfer Building Blocks and Conduits”, Chemistry - An Asian Journal 2014, 9, 1226 -1241.

O.O. Fashedemi, B. Jules, K.I. Ozoemena*, “Synthesis of Pd-coated FeCo@Fe/C core-shell nanoparticles: A microwave-induced ‘top-down’ nanostructuring and decoration”, Chem. Commun., 2013, 49, 2034-2036.

O.O Fashedemi, K.I. Ozoemena*, “Enhanced methanol oxidation and oxygen reduction reactions on palladium-decorated FeCo@Fe/C core-shell nanocatalysts in alkaline medium”, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2013, 15, 20982-20991

C.J. Jafta , M. K. Mathe , N. Manyala , W.D. Roos, K.I. Ozoemena*, “Microwave-Assisted Synthesis of High-Voltage Nanostructured LiMn1.5Ni0.5O4 spinel: Tuning the Mn3+ Content and Electrochemical Performance”, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2013, 5, 7592−7598