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Institute for Atom-Efficient Chemical Transformations — an Energy Frontier Research Center

The Institute for Atom-Efficient Chemical Transformations (IACT) employs a multidisciplinary approach to address key catalytic conversions that could improve the efficiency of producing fuels from biomass. IACT focuses on advancing the science of catalysis for the efficient conversion of energy resources into usable forms. IACT’s goal is to find ways to achieve control and efficiency of chemical conversions comparable to those in nature.

Achieving this goal will require new catalytic materials. A major emphasis of IACT is to synthesize new, complex, multisite, multifunctional catalytic materials that offer new models for catalysis. Using advanced computation and modeling to interpret, understand, and optimize experimental results is also a critical part of advancing catalytic science.

Left: Density functional calculated structure of a fructose molecule adsorbed in a zirconium oxide nanobowl. The brown atoms are surface oxygen and the coral atoms are zirconium. Carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms of fructose molecules are shown in black, red, and white, respectively.

Research Focus

IACT’s research can be divided into four tasks:

  • Design and Synthesis
  • Characterization
  • Computational Studies
  • Evaluation and Mechanisms/Catalytic Experimentation

Using these approaches, IACT will address key chemistries associated with:

  • Clean, efficient utilization of the two main chemical energy resources in the United States, coal and biomass
  • Efficient removal of oxygen from biomass and coal, and the hydrogenation of these systems
IACT logo

A Multidisciplinary Approach

IACT will make use of the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory and several Office of Science computational facilities (Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials Virtual Fabrication Lab, the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the Institute for Interfacial Catalysis at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory).

IACT is one of two Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) centered at Argonne. The other, the Center for Electrical Energy Storage, will investigate electrical-energy storage technologies for alternative renewable energy sources, transportation, medicine, defense, aerospace, telecommunications and consumer applications. Argonne will also will play a prominent role in 10 other EFRCs (read the Argonne news release about the establishment of EFRCs at Argonne).

IACT Partners

The Institute will receive $19 million over five years. Argonne is the lead organization, with Argonne chemist Christopher Marshall as principal investigator and IACT director. The Institute's other members include Northwestern University, Purdue University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


September 2012

Related Items

Christopher Marshall
Director, Institute for
Chemical Transformations

IACT Trifold Brochure
(PDF, 3.5 MB)

IACT Fact Sheet
(PDF, 180 kb)

IACT Video

U.S. Department of Energy, Basic Energy Sciences Workshop Report
Basic Research Needs: Catalysis for Energy
(PDF, 4.3 MB)

U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Frontier Research Centers web site

Energy Frontier Research Center Brochures

Energy Frontier Research Centers—Technical Summaries
(PDF, 4.8 MB)

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