Professor, Chemical Engineering
Petroleum and synthesis gas chemistry, reaction engineering, fuel cell technology.
My research interests center on heterogeneous catalysis and reaction engineering. The main area of application is the production of electric power and of clean fuel and chemical products.
Very high temperature (above 1000 degrees C) heterogeneous catalysts that convert light hydrocarbon molecules to carbon monoxide and hydrogen are limited in their selectivity by gas phase free radical thermal reactions that occur in parallel. Limiting the extent of gas phase thermo-chemistry is one specific area of research interest. Similar low selectivity issues arise in the high temperature coupling of methane and methanol to make light olefins.
Production of electric power taking advantage of fuel cell electrochemical reactions can be more energy efficient and result in lower emissions than combustion-based processes used in automotive and power generation systems. Better anode catalysts that have high activity and selectivity and are less sensitive to poisons will help make fuel cell technology a broadly attractive option for transportation and electric power generation.
In both of these technology area the key is gaining a fundamental understanding of the catalytic processes and coupling creative reaction engineering and materials science concepts.