Mechanisms and Discoveries in Thermal Catalysis

Thermochemical conversions of syngas and carbon dioxide are of paramount interest for the production of sustainable fuels and chemicals on a large scale. Many such processes, like the hydrogenations of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide to produce alcohols and other liquid fuels, require the development of active and selective catalysts. Our research focuses on the design, synthesis, catalytic testing, and materials characterization of novel catalysts with an emphasis on gaining theoretical insight into reaction mechanisms.

We perform catalytic testing in lab scale plug flow reactors capable of operating at high temperatures and pressures. Catalyst characterization is performed through traditional ex-situ techniques as well as novel synchotron studies. Operando and in-situ spectroscopy techniques at SSRL are utilized to study catalysts under realistic operating conditions. Using our experimental capabilities at Stanford, SLAC and SSRL along with a strong theoretical support from our collaborators in SUNCAT we strive to develop an understanding of how a catalyst’s electronic and chemical structure governs its selectivity and activity.