Our groups work on vehicle emissions technology continues with a new DOE NETL grant

We continue to provide theoretical support and guide experimental catalyst design efforts to the team lead by Prof. Mike Harold with a new DOE NETL grant worth $2.1M. UH is joined by Prof. Bill Epling from the University of Virginia (UVA), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and engineers from Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles Inc. and Johnson Matthey Inc. For more details on our research goals and possible impact on the future personal transportation please read the UH News Release or this article in The Daily Cougar.




JACS Communication on finite size effects on monolayer catalysts

JACS Finite Size Effects
Having been a PhD student in the group of Prof. Manos Mavrikakis at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Prof. Lars Grabow had an early exposure to monolayer catalysts, or near surface alloys. At the time theory was able to make exciting predictions regarding the catalytic properties of these hypothetical materials, but only a hand-full of experimentalists accepted the challenge to actually make such well-defined structures. One such pioneer was Dr. Radoslav Adzic at Brookhaven National Laboratory and his former postdoctoral researcher, now Associate Professor, Stanko Brankovic. Since then, numerous monolayer catalysts with exceptional activity have been discovered, and their properties can generally be captured as a combination of electronic (or ligand) effects and the epitaxial strain imposed by the host material on the overlayer metal. Years later, Stanko and Lars joined forces to yet discover another crucial aspect relating to monolayer catalysts. In practice, monolayer materials are not perfect. These imperfections lead to an additional strain along the perimeter of 2-D overlayer islands. This additional strain can have a significant effect and explains experimental observations that are in contrast to the established theory. For more details, please read our recently published communication in JACS or the UH College of Engineering news article.

Nano Energy article featured in the News

FeMnP-TOC
In collaboration with researchers at Rice University and the group of Prof. Bao at the UH, graduate student Hari Thirumalai has provided a theoretical explanation why a triple-layer FeMnP catalyst works well for hydrogen evolution during water splitting. In fact, experiments done by Dr. Zhenhuan Zhao demonstrate that the same material also works for the oxygen evolution reaction. Thus, this new, cheap and scalable material could be used as anode and cathode for electrocatalytic water splitting and efficient hydrogen production. Read the full article or check out the story published on Eurekalert.

Sashank recieves Kokes award to attend NAM25 along with four other group members

2017 NAM25 Kokes Award Winners
For his work on "Balancing the Site Requirements for Hydrodeoxygenation of Bio-oil over Mixed Molybdenum Oxy-carbide Phases", Sashank Kasiraju received the prestigious Richard J. Kokes Award from the North American Catalysis Society. This award supported his travel to the 25th North American Meeting in Denver, CO, where he and the other winners enjoyed exclusive access to and meetings with leading researchers in the field of catalysis. Sashank's project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and aims to improve catalysts for the upgrade of biomass to fuels by learning from similar processes, i.e., hydrodesulfurization, for which large-scale industrial processes already exist. Read more about Sashank and the other two award winners from our department (Wendy Lang and Wei Qin) in the College of Engineering News.

Alongside Sashank, our group had a strong representation at NAM25 with additional oral presentations given by Dr. Shengguang Wang, Dr. Juan Manuel Arce Ramos, Yuying Song, and two posters by Hari Thirumalai.

Artwork selected for cover of Special Issue in ChemCatChem!

2017 ChemCatChem Cover
Our contribution to the special issue on "Catalysis for New Energy Technology" was selected for the journal cover of ChemCatChem. The work originated from a collaboration with Bill Epling's group and the cover shows the electron density change in methane during its activation over a palladium catalyst. Hieu Doan created the artwork with the help of Dr. Martin Huarte-Espinosa at the UH Center for Advanced Computing and Data Systems. More info about the cover artwork and the article itself is available in the cover profile.

UH CCIC Group Honored with University Level Research Award

uh-awards-site
Our group's continuing efforts to strive for high quality research was recognized with the university-wide Excellence in Research, Scholarship or Creative Activity Award conferred upon Lars Grabow on behalf of all contributing postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students. Additional engineering awards are described here.

Karun Kumar Rao is selected as NASA Space Technology Research Fellow

NASA
Yes, our group is now doing rocket science! Our first year graduate student Karun Kumar Rao received a prestigious and highly competitive Space Technology Research Fellowship from NASA to conduct research on solid state electrolytes for lithium ion batteries. His computational research in our group is complemented with experimental work in the lab of our collaborator Prof. Yan Yao. Congratulations to Karun and we are all looking forward to the exiting results to come! For the full story and interviews with Karun, please visit:
University of Houston News
Cullen College of Engineering News
This Week@UH (Video)
Eurekalert!
AZoCleanTech

Artwork selected for cover of Chemistry: A European Journal

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Graduate student Arian Ghorbanpour, co-advised by Prof. J. Rimer, has contributed computational results that explain the sorption behavior of ultrastable zeolite GIS polymorphs. In particular, his work shows that GIS is not a good framework structure for carbon dioxide sorption; instead, it is an excellent framework structure to separate water from other small molecules. The full article was published in Chemistry: A European Journal and is featured on the journal cover. Congratulations Arian!

Oral Presentation and Best Poster Award at the 2016 OChEGS Symposium

OChEGS16_QKD_PosterAward
As one of three students presenting in the area of Catalysis and Reaction Engineering, Sashank Kasiraju gave an excellent talk on "The nature of the active site of MoO3 for biomass hydrotreating, and ways to improve it" at the 2016 Annual Symposium organized by our UH Chemical Engineering Graduate Students (OChEGS). This event is our annual showcase of the best ongoing research projects and it is attended by a wide variety of industry representatives.

Another highlight of the event is the poster session, in which Quan Do (2nd from left) was recognized with one of four poster awards. Quan's poster was titled "Theoretical and Experimental Exploration of Non-Oxidative Methane Upgrade using Metal Hydrides as Hydrogen Storage Materials".

Finally, high school student Cindy Mai, who visited our group during Summer 2016 as participant of the ACS Project SEED Program also presented a poster on her summer research project. Her work on "Exploring the power of single atom alloys for breaking the nitrogen triple bond" was also mentored by Quan Do.

We congratulate everyone who was recognized at this event and we are looking forward to next year!

2016 Colt Refining Student Award for Yuying Song

Yuying
Congratulations to graduate student Yuying Song, who was selected by the International Precious Metal Institute (IPMI) as the winner of the 2016 Colt Refining Student Award!! This award honors Yuying's contributions to the computational design of bimetallic catalysts for new applications in the areas of low temperature emission control and biomass upgrade. Notably, Yuying has shown that Copper in a Palladium/Copper alloy shows increased reactivity for the dehydrogenation of alcohols to aldehydes, while maintaining little (or no) activity for the undesired decarbonylation side reaction. These findings were included in a recent JACS publication from our group. Her current work focuses on the design of coinage metal alloys for low temperature oxidation catalysts. More...