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Natural Gas Initiative is a cross-campus effort of the Precourt Institute for Energy.

Methane Conversion to Liquid Fuels and Chemicals

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 Project Topics 

Cargnello Group

The Cargnello group focuses on the preparation and use of uniform and tailored materials for heterogeneous catalysis and photocatalysis and the technological exploitation of nanoparticles and nanocrystals. Reactions of interest are related to sustainable energy generation and use, control of emissions of greenhouse gases, and better utilization of abundant building blocks (methane, biomass).

Criddle Group

The Criddle Group focuses on environmental biotechnology and microbial ecology for clean water, clean energy, and healthy ecosystems. The group works on large interdisciplinary field projects, studies of microbial ecology in bioreactors, and work on microbial transformations of persistent contaminants. Some current projects include a field-scale evaluation of uranium remediation; DNA-monitoring of microbial community structure at full-scale biological wastewater treatment plants; development of membrane bioreactors for energy recovery and nutrient removal; and studies to elucidate the mechanisms and kinetics of microbial transformation of halogenated solvents.

Majumdar Group

The Majumdar Group researches the science and engineering of nanoscale materials and devices, especially in the areas of energy conversion, transport and storage as well as biomolecular analysis. Current research focuses on electrochemical and thermochemical redox reactions that are fundamental to a sustainable energy future, multidimensional nanoscale imaging and microscopy, and a new effort to re-engineer the electricity grid using data science, including deep learning techniques.

Jaramillo Group

Recent years have seen an unprecedented motivation for the emergence of new energy technologies. Global dependence on fossil fuels, however, will persist until alternate technologies can compete economically. We must develop means to produce energy (or energy carriers) from renewable sources and then convert them to work as efficiently and cleanly as possible. Catalysis is energy conversion, and the Jaramillo laboratory focuses on fundamental catalytic processes occurring on solid-state surfaces in both the production and consumption of energy. Chemical-to-electrical and electrical-to-chemical energy conversion are at the core of the research. Nanoparticles, metals, alloys, sulfides, nitrides, carbides, phosphides, oxides, and biomimetic organo-metallic complexes comprise the toolkit of materials that can help change the energy landscape. Tailoring catalyst surfaces to fit the chemistry is our primary challenge.

Spormann Group

The research interests of the Spormann Group in our lab are at the interface of fundamental metabolic processes of anaerobic microorganisms and their application in bioenergy, bioremediation, and human intestinal health. We explore the distinguishing features of novel microbial metabolism and how molecular and biochemical differences in metabolism shape microbial fitness. We study novel microbial metabolism with relevance to bioremediation, bioenergy, and intestinal microbiology.

Xia's Lab

The group is interested in the design, synthesis, and manipulation of novel organic and polymeric materials. They use a combination of organic and polymer chemistry, catalysis, and advanced characterizations to create, control, and investigate unusual (macro) molecular structures and organic materials with tailored conformations nanostructures, properties, and functions, which advance our fundamental understanding of emerging topics in chemistry and polymer science as well as target important technological applications.

Zheng Group

The Zheng group studies the interfacial science among combustion, nanomaterials and energy conversion. Our goal is to bridge combustion science with scalable synthesis and applications of high-dimensional nanomaterials to provide innovative and revolutionary solutions to solve some of today’s most challenging problems, such as energy and the environment. The Zheng group is also interested in innovating new manufacture methods for flexible and attachable inorganic electronics.

Matteo Cargnello

Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering And, By Courtesy, of Materials Science and Engineering

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University and Senior Fellow in the Woods Institute for the Environment

Jay Precourt Professor, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Senior Fellow, by Courtesy, at the Hoover Institution
Yan Xia

Asst Professor. Chemistry
Xiaolin Zheng

Professor of Mechanical Engineering / Senior Fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy

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