We tackle technological challenges to sustainable fuel and energy production from solar, nuclear and biological sources, as well as process and safety challenges to extracting traditional petrochemicals. Our approach spans the design and creation of efficient catalysts used in energy production, to process engineering and technoeconomic assessment of new production and storage options. Some examples of our research activities include:

  • Fabricating “chemical-plants-on-a-chip” to rapidly test heterogeneous catalyses that maximize energy recovery from biomass.
  • Predicting the role and fate of inorganics in the industrial processing of woody biomass, emphasizing energy and atomic efficiency of the overall process.
  • Developing lignocellulosic-based green energy storage devices and electronics wearables.
  • Optimizing electrocatalysis processes for water splitting in membrane fuel cells.
  • Developing high-performance battery technology through electrolyte and advanced electrode materials design.
  • Advancing safe nuclear energy generation and waste management.
  • Applying genomics and synthetic biology approaches to engineer microorganisms and microbial communities that recover energy from CO2 and organic waste.
  • Designing new organic photovoltaic devices for harvesting solar energy.
    Investigating surfactant-based processes and transport phenomena associated with oil and bitumen extraction and industrial remediation of oil spills.
  • Developing novel electrochemical processes for producing ultra high purity materials.

Key Terms

  • Solar energy
  • Photocatalysis
  • Nuclear power
  • Heterogeneous catalysis
  • Hydrogen
  • Corrosion and material performance
  • Electrochemistry
  • Energy recovery and storage
  • Liquid biofuels
  • Algae to fuels and chemicals
  • Methanogenesis
  • Flexible electrodes and wearables
  • Membrane separation
  • Oil extraction
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Technoeconomic assessment

Core Principal Investigators

Edgar Acosta

Edgar J. Acosta

Enhanced oil recovery; oil sands processing; metamaterial colloids for solar fuels and chemicals

Grant Allen

D. Grant Allen

Algae to fuels and chemicals; liquid biofuels; methanogenesis

Gisele Azimi

Gisele Azimi

Electrochemical technologies; energy storage

Tim Bender

Timothy P. Bender

Solar energy; photocatalysis

Cathy Chin

Ya-Huei (Cathy) Chin

Heterogeneous catalysis; bioenergy

Niko DeMartini

Nikolai DeMartini

Reducing heat transfer fouling; biofuel generation/utilization

Levente Diosady

Levente L. Diosady

Food engineering; food proteins; biofuels

Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth A. Edwards

Liquid biofuels; methanogenesis; life cycle assessment

Ramin Farnood

Ramin R. Farnood

Solar energy; membrane separation; photocatalysis

Charles Jia

Charles Q. Jia

Energy storage materials; biochar supercapacitor electrode; green energy production

Don Kirk

Donald W. Kirk

Hydrogen production; polymers as a source of hydrogen

Chris Lawson

Christopher E. Lawson

Liquid biofuels; methanogenesis; electrochemical technologies

Krishna Mahadevan

Radhakrishnan Mahadevan

Liquid biofuels; electrochemical technologies

Charles Mims

Charles A. Mims

Heterogeneous catalysis

Mohamad Moosavi

Seyed Mohamad Moosavi

Energy storage; absorption separation; carbon capture

Roger Newman

Roger C. Newman

Nuclear power; corrosion and materials performance; electrochemistry

Arun Ramchandran

Arun Ramchandran

Oil extraction

Brad Saville

Bradley A. Saville

Liquid biofuels; technoeconomic assessment; life cycle assessment

Honghi Tran

Honghi N. Tran

Bioenergy; energy recovery


Ning Yan

Energy storage; flexible electrodes; wearables