Catalysis & Energy Conversion
The Catalysis & Energy Conversion department conducts basic and applied research in two areas of critical energy-related technology:
- Fuel cells and hydrogen
The development of new energy technologies is essential for economic prosperity, energy security, and environmental preservation.
Our research is organized into five areas:
Researchers are developing new catalytic materials and processes for converting resources (such as biomass and coal) into transportation fuels and chemical commodities, reducing NOx emissions, and basic research aimed at improving our understanding of how catalysts promote chemical reactions.
Researchers are developing carbon dioxide reduction catalysts and novel synthetic methods for homogeneous catalysts.
Hydrogen and fuel cell research includes novel technologies for the production and purification of fuels, such as hydrogen and syngas, and evaluation of fuel cell performance under various operating conditions. We are leading the development for the production of hydrogen using the copper-chlorine thermochemical cycle.
Research in hydrogen production includes high temperature electrolysis and thermochemical cycles. For fuel cells, advanced materials and electrocatalysts are being developed to reduce the cost and improve the durability of both solid oxide and polymer electrolyte membrane technologies. Researchers also analyze the complex systems associated with hydrogen production, storage, and fuel cell applications.
Research activities are focused on the development of ceramic-based electrochemical devices and components, such as solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) and high-temperature steam electrolyzers (HTSEs). This extends to materials synthesis, fabrication and characterization.
Electrochemical Projects Support
Researchers provide input to research and development plans, review proposals and prepare white papers on current topics of interest to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fuel Cell Technologies Technology Development managers. These scientists also participate in the USDRIVE partnership between automotive manufacturers and the DOE as members of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Storage Technical Teams. These experts assist the DOE in determining the status of DOE-funded research and development at fuel cell developer sites and universities through on-site reviews and assessments of project progress; and frequently speak on behalf of the DOE at international conferences and meetings.