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Methane Conversion to Liquid Fuels and Chemicals

Faculty & Researchers


Matteo Cargnello (Focus Area Leader)

Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering

Craig Criddle

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment
Thomas Jaramillo

Thomas Jaramillo (Focus Area Leader)

Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering

Arun Majumdar

Director, Precourt Institue for Energy, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and of Photon Science and, by courtesy of, Material Science and Engineering

Alfred Spormann

Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Yan Xia

Asst Professor. Chemistry
Xiaoling Zheng

Xiaolin Zheng (Focus Area Leader)

Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering

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Project Topics

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Related Publications

Expanding the range of polyhydroxyalkanoates synthesized by methanotrophic bacteria through the utilization of omega-hydroxyalkanoate co-substrates AMB Express Myung, J., Flanagan, J. C., Waymouth, R. M., Criddle, C. S. 03/2017; : PDF icon s13568-017-0417-y.pdf
A Combined Theory-Experiment Analysis of the Surface Species in Lithium-Mediated NH3 Electrosynthesis CHEMELECTROCHEM Schwalbe, J. A., Statt, M. J., Chosy, C., Singh, A. R., Rohr, B. A., Nielander, A. C., Andersen, S. Z., McEnaney, J. M., Baker, J. G., Jaramillo, T. F., Norskov, J. K., Cargnello, M. 07/2020; :
Selective reduction of CO to acetaldehyde with CuAg electrocatalysts. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Wang, L., Higgins, D. C., Ji, Y., Morales-Guio, C. G., Chan, K., Hahn, C., Jaramillo, T. F. 01/2020; : PDF icon 1821683117.full_.pdf
Double layer charging driven carbon dioxide adsorption limits the rate of electrochemical carbon dioxide reduction on Gold Nature Communications Ringe, S., Morales-Guio, C. G., Chen, L. D., Fields, M., Jaramillo, T. F., Hahn, C., Chan, K. 03/2020; : PDF icon s41467-019-13777-z.pdf
Revealing the Synergy between Oxide and Alloy Phases on the Performance of Bimetallic In-Pd Catalysts for CO2 Hydrogenation to Methanol ACS Catalysis Snider, J. L., Streibel, V., Hubert, M. A., Choksi, T. S., Valle, E., Upham, D., Schumann, J., Duyar, M. S., Gallo, A., Abild-Pedersen, F., Jaramillo, T. F. 03/2019; : PDF icon acscatal.8b04848.pdf