University of Delaware


CCEI News


[December 2017]
FOCUSING ENERGY RESEARCH: UD scientists develop new theory to help improve catalysis research

Dec. 01, 2017 - A new theory by researchers at the University of Delaware-led Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation (CCEI) will help bring greater accuracy and focus to molecular science research, with the potential for far-reaching impact across multiple industries. The findings— reported by UD graduate student researchers Joshua Lansford and Alexander Mironenko with support from CCEI director Dionisios Vlachos—establish predictive capability for the behavior of molecules called adsorbates. Adsorption is a process by which molecules of gas, liquid or dissolved solids adhere to a surface, including metals such as iron, copper, nickel and titanium.
View full article

[September 2017]
A SWEETER WAY TO MAKE GREEN PRODUCTS: Researchers invent novel process for extracting sugars from wood

A UD research team has invented a more efficient process for extracting the sugars from wood chips, corn cobs and other organic waste from forests and farms. This biorenewable feedstock could serve as a cheaper, sustainable substitute for the petroleum used in manufacturing tons upon tons of consumer goods annually — goods that consumers want to be greener. More than half of consumers in the U.S. are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products, according to GfK MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer, reported earlier this year.
View full article

[September 2017]
MAKING BETTER MATERIAL FOR FUEL CELLS: UD researchers make material to make fuel cells more durable, less expensive

Take a ride on the University of Delaware’s Fuel Cell bus, and you see that fuel cells can power vehicles in an eco-friendly way. In just the last two years, Toyota, Hyundai and Honda have released vehicles that run on fuel cells, and carmakers such as GM, BMW and VW are working on prototypes. If their power sources lasted longer and cost less, fuel cell vehicles could go mainstream faster. Now, a team of engineers at UD has developed a technology that could make fuel cells cheaper and more durable.
View full article

[July 2017]
Clean and Green! Everyday Products Made from Sugar: Plant-derived chemicals competitive with petrochemical commodities

Consumer products such as shampoo, soap and detergents, as well as processed foods and drugs, are often laden with extra ingredients. Many of these extra ingredients are surfactants — chemicals responsible for changing the texture and solution properties of consumer products. Surfactants affect how well a shampoo or toothpaste "foams" and how well detergents remove dirt and grease. New research is highlighting how these products, typically derived from petroleum byproducts, can be made from renewable resources such as sugar.
View full article

[July 2017]
GREEN GROWTH COOPERATION: UD and Global Green Growth Institute establish research partnership

July 13, 2017 - The University of Delaware and the Global Green Growth Institute have announced a research partnership to support a global transition toward a green economy. The overall idea is to foster sustainable economic growth and development in ways that fuel the economy at regional, national and global levels while ensuring the Earth’s natural assets remain available to future generations.
View full article

[July 2017]
University of Delaware researchers look to make tires made from plants and wood

Researchers at the Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation say they have discovered a highly efficient way to convert plant matter into a chemical used to make everything from car tires to Lego blocks. "It's still early in the research but what we’ve seen so far looks very promising," said Dionisios Vlachos, a UD professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and director of the federally-funded research center.
Story by: Scott Goss, The News Journal, Published July 9, 2017

[April 2017]
DISCOVERY COULD TRANSFORM INDUSTRIES: Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

Apr. 24 2017--Synthetic rubber and plastics – used for manufacturing tires, toys and myriad other products – are produced from butadiene, a molecule traditionally made from petroleum or natural gas. But those manmade materials could get a lot greener soon, thanks to the ingenuity of a team of scientists from three U.S. research universities. The scientific team –- from the University of Delaware, the University of Minnesota and the University of Massachusetts – has invented a process to make butadiene from renewable sources like trees, grasses and corn.
View full article

[February 2017]
GO AWAY GREENHOUSE GAS: NSF Career Award to focus on electrochemical reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide

Feb. 15 2017--The University of Delaware’s Bingjun Xu has received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award to address electrochemical reduction of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. The five-year, $523,000 grant, "Elucidating Molecular Level Interplay Between Catalysts and Electrolytes in Electrochemical Reduction of CO2," was awarded through NSF’s Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems.
View full article

[February 2017]
APRIL 17: NAMED PROFESSOR LECTURE: UD’s Dion Vlachos will address global energy, water, food needs

Feb. 13 2017--The University of Delaware’s Dion Vlachos, who has been named the Allan and Myra Ferguson Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, will deliver his inaugural lecture at 4 p.m., Monday, April 17, in Room 204 Kirkbride Hall. A reception will follow at 5 p.m. in the DuPont Hall Lobby. Those who plan to attend should RSVP by email to Sue Zatto.
View full article

[December 2016]
Polyarc User Professor Paul Dauenhauer Wins The Pittsburgh Conference Achievement Award!

Dec. 2016--Paul Dauenhauer, the University of Minnesota, will receive the 2017 Pittsburgh Conference Achievement Award, presented by the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh.
View Pittcon abstract

[December 2016]
UMass Amherst: Engineers boost biobased p-xylene production

Dec. 6, 2016--A team of chemical engineering researchers that includes professor Wei Fan, and doctoral students Hong Je Cho and Vivek Vattipalli from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has developed a new chemical process to make p-xylene, an important ingredient of common plastics. The new method has a 97 percent yield and uses biomass as the feedstock. P-xylene is currently produced from petroleum.
Read full article

[November 2016]
Catalysis Club of Philadelphia

Nov. 28, 2016--Congratulations to Molly Koehle, a winner of the CCP Student Poster Competition. The Catalysis Club of Philadelphia is very proud of this event and views it as one of the region’s premier opportunities for graduate students to showcase their work with the local chemical industry professionals. All graduate students whose work is either directly or indirectly related to catalysis science and technology are encouraged to submit entries. The competition is an annual event and restricted to graduate students only. Post-docs and senior undergraduates are welcome to present their posters but are not eligible for prizes.
View in CCP

[November 2016]
UMass Amherst Chemical Engineers Lead Team That Boosts Valuable Chemical p-xylene Production from Biomass

Nov. 16, 2016--A team of chemical engineering researchers that includes Professor Wei Fan, and doctoral students Hong Je Cho and Vivek Vattipalli from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has developed a new chemical process to make p-xylene, an important ingredient of common plastics. The new method has a 97 percent yield and uses biomass as the feedstock. P-xylene is currently produced from petroleum.
Read UMass article
View in Chem.Cat.Chem

[October 2016]
Carbon Dioxide Capture and Utilization

October 26, 2016 -- Key accomplishment and core facilities brochure by UDEI.View pdf

[October 2016]
RENEWABLE ENERGY LEADER: Vlachos appointed Ferguson Professor and UD Energy Institute director

October 26, 2016 -- A team of researchers, led by the University of Minnesota, has invented a new soap molecule made from renewable sources that could dramatically reduce the number of chemicals in cleaning products and their impact on the environment. The soap molecules also worked better than some conventional soaps in challenging conditions such as cold water and hard water. The technology has been patented by the University of Minnesota and is licensed to the new Minnesota-based startup company Sironix Renewables.Read full article View video

[September 2016]
RENEWABLE ENERGY LEADER: Vlachos appointed Ferguson Professor and UD Energy Institute director

September 26, 2016 -- BES has recently published a booklet that summarizes the history and mission of the EFRC program and highlights the accomplishments since 2009.
View pdf booklet

[October 2016]
DRONING ON: UD’s Bingjun Xu awarded AFOSR Young Investigator grant

October 21, 2016 -- The University of Delaware’s Bingjun Xu is one of 58 scientists and engineers across the U.S. to receive a three-year research grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Program (YIP). The awards this year total $20.8 million. The YIP is open to scientists and engineers at research institutions who received Ph.D. or equivalent degrees in the past five years and who show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research. The objective of the program is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for the young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering.
Read full article

[September 2016]
ENERGY FRONTIER RESEARCH CENTERS, Septermber 2016

Sep. 19, 2016--Dionisios G. Vlachos has been named the inaugural Allan and Myra Ferguson Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware. He also has been appointed director of the UD Energy Institute.
Read full article

[September 2016]
Alexander Mironenko: recipient of AIChE Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division Travel Award

Sep. 7, 2016--Alex Mironenko was selected to receive a travel award from the AIChE Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division to attend the annual meeting that will be held November 13-18 in San Francisco, CA.

[August 24, 2016]
UD Research Magazine
Fuling the Quest for Green Energy: You can't put a tree limb or a corncob in your gas tank and expect to get anything but a strange look and a bill from your mechanic. But that kind of fodder could one day be a fuel source as cheap and common as fossil fuels are now, providing renewable, sustainable raw materials for biorefineries that turn such agricultural waste into fuels, electricity and chemicals.
view video and read aritcle here

[July 29, 2016]
Energy Frontier Research Newsletter
Chopping Oxygen: A Sugary Recipe for Biofuels. Creating materials that rip oxygen out of plants to create fuels from renewable sources by Matthew Gilkey is featured in the latest issue. Also, CCEI is featured in the top article on interdisciplinary teams.
Read the issue here

[June 9, 2016]
ACS Publication for J|A|C|S
Alex Mironenko and Dionisios Vlachos discovered the radical mechanism for carbon-oxygen bond activation in furan compounds. The mechanism enables the cooperativity of metal and metal oxide catalytic sites, opening up opportunities for development of low-temperature catalytic processes for biomass upgrade. The findings were published in Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Read full publication

[June 2016]
The University of Delaware has found talent in the retired engineering experts now working independently as consultants

Jun. 9, 2016--CCEI is pleased to announce the addition of Dr. Ron Ozer, principal of Ron Ozer Consulting LLC and 23 year veteran of DuPont R&D, as a scientist in the ISE laboratory. In his new role, Dr. Ozer will advise students on their current and upcoming research plans, in addition to pursuing new research opportunities in biomass to chemicals where his past decade of DuPont research has focused. Dr. Ozer will also be considering start-up companies planned in collaboration with CCEI. He is returning to UD a full 32 years after his graduation with a BChE in 1984.
View full release

[June 2016]
Activated Research Company® Partners with Wasson-ECE to Provide New Analytical Solutions with the Polyarc® Reactor System

Jun. 2016--Activated Research Company is a catalysis company founded on technology developed at the Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation (an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science) and dedicated to its mission "To make the world a better place through catalysis." ARC’s initial product, the Polyarc reactor system, has received international acclaim, receiving the "2015 Best New Product" award at the Gulf Coast Conference and being named one of the top innovations in 2015 by the Analytical Scientist Innovation Awards." This is the first of what will be many innovative products to be released as ARC works to fulfill their mission.
View full release

[June 2016]
HIGHLY TUNED CATALYTIC CONTROLS: UD researchers sharpen time, spatial control of reactions

Jun. 2, 2016--You could think of bioorthogonal chemistry as a discreet valet or concierge that steers two world leaders to a private meeting without making noise or trouble along the way. The valet is a catalyst of sorts, arranging the meeting to expedite a result that would not otherwise happen. Bioorthogonal chemistry produces targeted reactions within living organisms that would not happen naturally. It is used in nuclear medicine, in imaging of cells, and in creating materials or adjusting the properties of materials already present. Now, the collaborative work of four University of Delaware professors has given the valet an upgraded GPS and a turbo-charged engine, allowing for faster, more precise reactions that can be triggered by light or an enzyme and will have even more implications for medicine, engineering and other sciences. Their achievement is described in a newly published article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Read full article

[May 2016]
2016 Rutherford Aris Award Recipient

The ISCRE Board is pleased to announce that Professor Paul Dauenhauer of the University of Minnesota has emerged as the inaugural winner of the Aris award, from a pool of seven outstanding candidates.(Read the complete article)

[May 2016]
For the Record, May 20, 2016

Dion Vlachos, Elizabeth Inez Kelley Professor and director of the Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation at the University of Delaware, has won the 2016 Catalysis Club of Philadelphia Award. The award is made annually to an outstanding member of the catalysis community who has made significant contributions to the advancement of catalysis in science, technology, or organizational leadership.(Read the complete article)

[May 2016]
Moniz Discusses Potential R&D Partnerships With University Of Delaware

The secretary's visit, arranged by U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., is the clearest sign yet that the department and its national labs also value coming to Delaware, said Charles Riordan, UD's deputy provost for research and scholarship. "It signals the federal government understands the energy (research and development) ecosystem that exists here in Delaware and that they wanted to come take a closer look," he said. Dubbed National Lab Day, the event included appearances by some of the top elected and academic officials from throughout the state, panel discussions featuring national lab directors and a "fireside chat" between Coons and Moniz, moderated by UD's incoming president Dennis Assanis. (Read the complete article)

[April 2016]
2016 CCEI Achievement Award
Alex Mironenko, graduate student from the University of Delaware, receives the 2016 CCEI Achievement Award; "for theoretical insights into complex reaction mechanisms of biomass upgrade." (Advised by Professor Dion Vlachos)

[February 2016]
Theodore A. Koch Graduate Student Travel Award
Alex Mironenko, graduate student from the University of Delaware, receives the Theodore A. Koch Graduate Student Travel Award from the Catalysis Club of Philadelphia. (Advised by Professor Dion Vlachos)

[January 2016]
Wei Fan, professor of chemical engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Wei Fan, professor of chemical engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is among scientists highlighted in the U.S. Department of Energy's online feature article titled "Driving to Great: Science and the Journey to Waste-Free Biodiesel." The article, which discusses how scientists are overcoming obstacles in order to turn fuel waste into valued chemicals, discusses Fan's discovery of a one-pot reaction that turns glycerol into large quantities of lactic acid under mild conditions. (Read the complete article)
  • Received the 2016 Barbara H. and Joseph I. Goldstein Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, Engineering School of UMass Amherst
  • 2016 Outstanding College of Engineering Teaching Award, Engineering School of UMass Amherst

[November 2015]
DOE Funding Leads to New Technology that is Revolutionizing Chemical Analysis

Research funded by the DOE Office of Science has led to the commercialization of a new product, the Polyarc™ reactor, which is improving chemical analysis for scientists using gas chromatography (GC) with flame ionization detectors (FID).

A universal carbon detection technology discovered by CCEI researchers is the basis for a newly developed reactor technology commercialized by Activated Research Company (ARC). The Polyarc™ reactor is a catalytic microreactor designed to enhance the detection of compounds in GC/FIDs including biofuels, foods, fragrances, pharmaceuticals, petroleum-based chemicals and fuels, and pesticides. The technology is transforming the speed and techniques used in research and practice allowing scientists to accurately quantify complicated mixtures without standards.

"We are excited by all the unique applications of the Polyarc™ reactor in a number of different industries," says Andrew Jones, ARC's Partner, Co-Founder, and Lead Technologist. "Scientists and engineers are not only saving time and money, but they are also able to easily perform analyses that were cumbersome or even impossible before." The Polyarc™ reactor was recently recognized as the 2015 Best New Product by the Gulf Coast Conference for its novel design and universal application to GC/FID analysis.

"The goal of the CCEI is to create breakthrough technologies for the production of biofuels and chemicals from biomass. Fast analysis of complex biofuels using the Polyarc™ reactor allows us to measure the molecular details of hundreds and possibly thousands of chemicals for the first time. This provides a deeper understanding of the catalytic chemistry for processing biomass and enables more efficient and affordable biofuels," says CCEI Co-Director, Professor Paul Dauenhauer.

(Read the complete press release)

[October 2015]
DOE EFRC Newsletter: The Secrets Such Structures May Hold: Zeolites and Metal-Organic Frameworks
The Autumn 2015 issue of the U.S. Department of Energy's newsletter features CCEI research that provides insight into zeolite characterization and capabilities. The article focuses on zeolite H-BEA, or BEA, which was used as the catalyst in an experiment probing different reaction pathways for the formation of toluene. (Read the complete article)

DOE EFRC Newsletter: A Summer of Science
In the same issue, another article highlights experiences from undergraduate students who participated in EFRC summer research programs. CCEI undergraduate alumni Zhexi Lin and current undergraduate student Jim Kennedy contributed information about their experiences while conducting research as part of CCEI's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) summer program. When the REU program concluded, both Zhexi and Jim continued their research efforts in CCEI as student workers during the academic year. (Read the complete article)

[October 2015]
CCEI Researchers Discover New Structure for Bimetallic Catalysts
Director Dion Vlachos and postdoctoral researcher Wei Guo recently made a surprising discovery about the structure of bimetallic catalysts while using computational techniques to predict how nanoscale materials will behave.

Recent efforts focused on combining two metals, often in a structure where a core of one metal is surrounded by an atom-thick layer of a second one. The properties and performance of these so-called bimetallic core-shell catalysts can be superior to those of either of the constituent metals, but determining how to take advantage of this synergy can be challenging.

"We thought that the shell had to form a perfect concentric circle around the core," Vlachos says. "But it turns out that the apparent imperfection of a patched surface actually offers better performance and ease of synthesis." The results of the work are documented in a paper, "Patched Bimetallic Surfaces Are Active Catalysts for Ammonia Decomposition," published in Nature Communications on October 7. Read the entire article on UDaily article.

[SEPTEMBER 2015]
Tyler Josephson Wins AIChE CRE Division Travel Grant
Tyler Josephson, graduate student from the University of Delaware, is selected by the CRE Travel Awards Committee to receive the award for travel to the AIChE Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, November 8-13, 2015. This award consists of a check for $400 and a ticket to the Division dinner. (Advised by Professor Dion Vlachos)

[JULY 2015]
Marianthi Ierapetritou Wins the Award of the Division of Particulate Preparations and Design
Marianthi Ierapetritou, Professor and Chair of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Department at Rutgers University, is the 2015 recipient of the International Award of the Division of Particulate Preparations and Design of the Society of Powder Technology of Japan. The award recognizes outstanding research achievements in the area of pharmaceutical process development. The award presentation takes place in October during the 32nd Symposium on Particulate Preparations and Designs. Marianthi will be a keynote speaker at the symposium in Toyohashi, Japan.

[Summer 2015]
DOE EFRC Newsletter: Plastics from Plants
The Summer 2015 issue of the U.S. Department of Energy's newsletter features an article on CCEI researchers who are demonstrating how clay-like materials are used to convert biomass to plastics. The article, which was written by CCEI graduate student Ryan Patet, discusses how computational researchers in CCEI leveraged their expertise to reveal the mystery behind a plateau in the production of para-xylene when using a zeolite as the catalyst. (Read the complete article)

[June 2015]
2015 Kokes Award
Alex Mironenko, graduate student from the University of Delaware, receives the 2015 Kokes Award of North American Catalysis Society. (Advised by Professor Dion Vlachos)

[May 2015]
2015 Giuseppe Parravano Award
Jingguang Chen, Thayer Lindsley Professor of Chemical Engineering at Columbia University has been selected as the winner of the 2015 Michigan Catalysis Society Guiseppe Parravano Memorial Award for Excellence in Catalysis Research. Professor Chen will give an Award Keynote Lecture at the 36th Annual Michigan Catalysis Society Spring Symposium, which will be held at Wayne State University on May 6, 2015 in Detroit, MI. (Read the complete article)

[April 2015]
Alex Mironenko Wins Registration Waiver for FOMMS 2015 Conference
Alex Mironenko, graduate student from the University of Delaware, is selected to receive a registration waiver for the FOMMS 2015 conference. The selection of award recipients was a highly competitive process with 40 applications. (Advised by Professor Dion Vlachos)

[APRIL 2015]
Tyler Josephson Receives Philip and Ruth Evans Chemical Engineering Fellowship
Tyler Josephson, graduate student from the University of Delaware, is the recipient of the Philip and Ruth Evans Chemical Engineering Fellowship. (Advised by Professor Dion Vlachos)

[February 2015]
Jingguang Chen Receives 2015 George A. Olah Award
Jingguang Chen, Thayer Lindsley Professor of Chemical Engineering at Columbia University and senior scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory, has won the American Chemical Society's 2015 George A. Olah Award in Hydrocarbon or Petroleum Chemistry. The award recognizes, encourages, and stimulates outstanding research achievements in hydrocarbon or petroleum chemistry. Chen is being honored for research that focuses on understanding and developing metal carbides and bimetallic alloys as catalysts and electrocatalysts.

"It is gratifying to be recognized by the ACS for my work," said Chen. "I am humbled to add my name to the distinguished list of extraordinary scientists whose work in the field of chemistry and catalysis has made a difference in our world. I look forward to continuing my collaboration at Brookhaven."

Chen will receive the Olah award at the next ACS national meeting, which is scheduled for March 2015.

[JANUARY 2015]
CCEI Invents New Chemical Detector
A team of researchers at the University of Delaware's Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation (CCEI) recently invented the Quantitative Carbon Detector (QCD), a new device that identifies and quantifies chemical compounds in complex mixtures such as fuels, oils, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and food. This instrument will have a significant impact on the amount of time required for chemical analysis.

The center's research focuses on discovering new technologies for the production of renewable fuels and chemicals using lignocellulosic (non-food) biomass as feedstocks.

A major challenge in the catalytic conversion of biomass to fuels is the molecular transformation that requires detailed and simultaneous characterization of complex mixtures containing hundreds of chemical compounds.

"The QCD is really the holy grail of chemical analysis," says Paul J. Dauenhauer, associate professor of chemical engineering and materials science at the University of Minnesota and co-director of CCEI. "Utilizing this new technology allows us to focus our effort on catalytic science rather than tedious and expensive chemical calibrations."

Using an integrated microreactor design, multiple catalytic reactions break down complex chemical mixtures into single compounds, significantly reducing the time and effort required for characterization analyses. Microchannels that surround a built-in heating system allow for high-resolution chemical detection as well as integration of hardware and software within existing chemical analysis devices.

The research was published in the January issue of the journal Lab on a Chip, a publication of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

"A major challenge in any energy and fuels laboratory is identifying the chemicals within liquid substances," says Alex Paulsen, CCEI researcher and co-inventor. "After being identified, each compound must be quantified, and this can be a time-consuming procedure for complex mixtures. By breaking down the mixtures into single compounds, the QCD simplifies the process so we have more time to focus on research."

This new technology, Polyarc QCD, is currently being developed by Activated Research Company (ARC), a new start-up based in Minnesota. Pre-orders for the device are being accepted.

[MARCH 2015]

An article titled "Ultra-High Control: Catalysis in a Vacuum" in the Spring 2015 issue of the U.S. Department of Energy's newsletter features the research of John Vohs, Carl V. S. Patterson Professor and Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.

[February 2015]
Michael Tsapatsis Elected to the National Academy of Engineering
Michael Tsapatsis, Professor and Amundson Chair in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for design and synthesis of zeolite-based materials for selective separation and reaction.

"This recognition gives me strength and increased responsibility to continue our work on energy-efficient processing technologies to enable a sustainable future for the chemical industry," said Tsapatsis in an article on the University of Minnesota's online news service. (Read the complete article)

Election into the NAE is among the highest professional honors awarded to an engineer.

[NOVEMBER 2014]
DOE EFRC Newsletter: A Conversation with EFRC Directors
The November 2014 issue of the U.S. Department of Energy's newsletter features CCEI director Dion Vlachos as one of six directors discussing the challenges and rewards of leading an EFRC. "Fostering synergies across the center to leverage the breadth and depth of expertise of all investigators to tackle large and complex problems is crucial to the success of a center," said Vlachos. (Read the complete article)

[NOVEMBER 2014]
Tyler Josephson Wins Poster Competition
Tyler Josephson, graduate student from the University of Delaware, is the winner of the poster competition in the AIChE Catalysis and Reaction Engineering (CRE) Division. (Advised by Professor Dion Vlachos)

[NOVEMBER 2014]
Featured Inside Front Cover
“Structure–activity relationships on metal-oxides: alcohol dehydration,” Pavlo Kostestkyy, Jingye Yu, Raymond J. Gorte and Giannis Mpourmpakis

[October 2014]
Mark Davis Wins Prince of Asturias Award
Mark Davis, Warren and Katharine Schlinger Professor of Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology, is one of three recipients of the 2014 Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research. The award is in recognition of contributions to the development of microporous and mesoporous materials and various applications of these materials from the petrochemical industry to health care. Avelino Corma Canós of the Institute of Chemical Technology in Spain and Galen D. Stucky of UC Santa Barbara also received the award.

"It gives me great pleasure to receive the 2014 Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research with my esteemed colleagues Professors Corma and Stucky," says Davis. "It is gratifying to receive recognition for work on microporous and mesoporous solids, as these types of materials are the basis of significant technology that has greatly improved quality of life throughout the world."

News of the award was featured in the August 2014 issue of Angewandte Chemie.

[OCTOBER 2014]
Featured Front Cover
“Challenges of and Insights into Acid-Catalyzed Transformations of Sugars,” Stavros Caratzoulas, Mark E. Davis, Raymond J. Gorte, Rajamani Gounder, Raul F. Lobo, Vladimiros Nikolakis, Stanley I. Sandler, Mark A. Snyder, Michael Tsapatsis and Dionisios G. Vlachos

[September 2014]
Vassili Vorotnikov Receives 2014 CRE Division Travel Award for AIChE Annual Meeting
Vassili Vorotnikov, graduate student at the University of Delaware, received a travel award from the Catalysis and Reaction Engineering (CRE) Division. The award, which is intended to assist graduate students with travel expenses to attend the AIChE Annual Meeting and present results of their research, consists of a monetary award and a ticket to the CRE Division Dinner where recipients are officially recognized. (Advised by Professor Dion Vlachos)

[AUGUST 2014]
CCEI Plant PET Technology Collaborative (PTC)
CCEI recently announced a research program with the Plant PET Technology Collaborative (PTC) to explore methods of producing renewable beverage bottles, packaging, automotive components and fabric from biomass. Together, CCEI and PTC are working to accelerate the development and use of 100 percent plant-based materials to produce renewable materials used in consumer products.

PTC is a strategic working group consisting of The Coca-Cola Company, Ford Motor Company, H.J. Heinz Company, NIKE Inc., and the Procter and Gamble Company. CCEI research under the PTC program will focus on converting renewable lignocellulosic (non-food) biomass, such as trees and grasses, to plastics that perform as well as those used in existing petroleum derived materials.

"Using renewable materials to manufacture plastics provides companies flexibility in resources while also addressing the global challenge of discovering new materials for sustainable packaging," says Dion Vlachos, CCEI director and Elizabeth Inez Kelley Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UD. In particular, the research project addresses the production of plastics that offer superior properties useful in fabric, food and beverage packaging, car parts and a range of other consumer products. The work builds on a 2012 CCEI advance that led to a new process for creating high yield (>90 percent) p-xylene from renewable biomass, which is used to produce PET plastics.

According to Paul J. Dauenhauer, associate professor of chemical engineering and materials science at the University of Minnesota and co-director of CCEI, the proposed materials created by CCEI can be mixed at any ratio with existing petroleum-derived versions, providing increased economic and manufacturing flexibility to businesses. "You can mix our renewable materials with the petroleum-based material and the consumer will see the high level of performance as always," he says.

The program is part of a larger effort by CCEI to create breakthrough technologies for the production of biofuels and chemicals from lignocellulosic biomass. (UDaily article)

[July 2014]
Featured Front Cover
“Base free, one-pot synthesis of lactic acid from glycerol using a bifunctional Pt/Sn-MFI catalyst,” Hong Je Cho, Chun-Chih Changa, Wei Fan

[JUNE 2014]
CCEI Receives $12 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy
CCEI received $12 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to continue its Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation (CCEI), an Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) that is developing technologies to convert biomass to biofuels and chemicals.

UD was one of 32 EFRCs selected for funding totaling $100 million to further fundamental advances in energy production, storage and use, DOE announced in a press release. CCEI is one of 22 centers selected for continued funding from among the original 46 EFRCs funded in 2009, and one of 23 university-led projects.

"This new four-year funding will enable CCEI researchers to build upon the foundations set in the first funding period and further the catalytic technologies that can transform widely abundant plant biomass into renewable chemicals and fuels," said Dionisios Vlachos, CCEI director and Elizabeth Inez Kelley Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

"CCEI’s research has the potential to replace costly enzyme-based processes with more robust and economically viable solid catalysts. Expanding the portfolio of biomass-derived chemicals and fuels can have a major impact on the economy and the environment." (UDaily article)

[June 2014]
Georgios Tsilomelekis Wins Best Poster Award
Georgios Tsilomelekis, postdoctoral researcher from the University of Delaware, won first place in the poster competition at the Gordon Research Conference in New Hampshire. (Advised by Professor Dion Vlachos)

[May 2014]
Zhexi Lin Receives Summer Fellowship
Zhexi Lin, undergraduate student from the University of Delaware, was awarded a 2014 summer undergraduate research fellowship by UD's Undergraduate Research Program. Zhexi will conduct research as part of CCEI under the guidance of Dr. Vlad Nikolakis.

[May 2014]
Eyas Mahmoud Selected for Student Panel
Eyas Mahmoud, graduate student from the University of Delaware, was selected to be on the student panel session held at the Council for Chemical Research's 2014 Annual Meeting in Alexandria, Virginia. The CCR meeting is similar to the Gordon Conference for leaders in the chemical disciplines, and the audience members have historically included senior research leaders from academic, industrial, and government sectors. Students are selected for this opportunity to represent the chemical sciences in 2050 with the anticipation that they will be one of the leaders at this conference in 36 years. (Advised by Professor Raul Lobo)

[April 2014]
Luke Williams Wins CCEI Achievement Award
Luke Williams, graduate student from the University of Massachusetts, won the 2014 CCEI Achievement Award at the CCEI spring symposium in April 2014. The winner was selected by the center's Executive Committee. (Advised by Professor Paul Dauenhauer)

[April 2014]
Michael Orella Awarded NSF GRFP Fellowship
Michael Orella, senior undergraduate student from the University of Delaware, recently was awarded the NSF GRFP fellowship. This award is given to approximately 2,000 students nationwide who are pursuing graduate degrees in technical fields with research interests in areas that have broad impact in the scientific community and society in general. Michael is interested in continuing research on sustainable energy specifically related to catalytic systems. He will be attending MIT in the fall of 2014 to pursue a Ph.D. in chemical engineering.

[April 2014]
CCEI Partners with ExxonMobil
CCEI announced a two-year program with ExxonMobil to research renewable chemicals from biomass. The research will focus on converting lignocellulosic (non-food) biomass, such as trees and grasses, to polymers that are identical to existing petrochemical products. Research strategies to replace fossil fuel feedstocks for polymers have initially focused on new chemicals derived from biomass that have the same function but new structure. However, functional-replacement chemicals for new polymers frequently have physical properties that can make processing challenging and can be expensive to develop into new products.

The CCEI’s research focuses on using high throughput and low cost thermochemical (non-biological) catalysts to yield direct-replacement chemicals. "You can mix our renewable chemicals with the petroleum-based material and the consumer will not be able to tell the difference," says Paul Dauenhauer, professor, of the CCEI and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Bio-derived direct-replacement chemicals can be directly blended at any ratio with existing petrochemical products.

Direct-replacement biomass-derived chemicals also provide increased economic and manufacturing flexibility. “Manufacturing of direct-replacement chemicals from biomass helps move towards renewable materials and a more diverse feedstock base for chemical producers,” says Dionisios Vlachos, director of the CCEI and Elizabeth Inez Kelley Professor of Chemical Engineering at UD.

This research program with ExxonMobil is a part of a larger effort by CCEI to create breakthrough technologies for the production of biofuels and chemicals from lignocellulosic biomass. The center is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the Energy Frontiers Research Center (EFRC) program which combines more than 20 faculty members with complementary research skills to collaborate on solving the world’s most pressing energy challenges. (UDaily article)

[April 2014]
Alex Mironenko Wins Best Poster Award
Alex Mironenko, graduate student from the University of Delaware, won best poster award at the CCEI spring symposium in April 2014. The winner was selected by members of the center's Scientific Advisory Board and industrial representatives. (Advised by Professor Dion Vlachos)

[March 2014]
Mark Davis Receives Gabor A. Somorjai Award
Mark Davis, Warren and Katharine Schlinger Professor of Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology, is the 2014 recipient of the Gabor A. Somorjai Award for Creative Research in Catalysis, which recognizes outstanding theoretical, experimental or developmental research resulting in the advancement of understanding or application of catalysis. The award was presented by Gabor Somorjai and Thomas Barton, president of the American Chemical Society, during a ceremony at the 247th ACS National Meeting in Dallas, Texas.

[March 2014]
Ke Xiong Receives Poster Award
Ke Xiong, graduate student from the University of Delaware, received a poster award at the 2014 spring symposium hosted by the Catalysis Society of Metropolitan New York. Ke's research focuses on upgrading biomass-derived furanics using low-cost metal carbide and bimetallic catalysts. (Advised by Professor Jingguang Chen)

[February 2014]
Mark Snyder Receives NSF CAREER Award
Mark Snyder, Frank Hook Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Lehigh University, received the NSF CAREER Award for his research in assembling and templating nanoporous membranes, or "sieves" that can separate molecules of a specific type out from a mixture of many.

[January 2014]
Featured Front Cover
“Elucidating the Solvation of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) in DMSO/Water Mixed Solvents and Its Effect in Hydration and Humin Formation Reactions,” George Tsilomelekis, Tyler Josephson, Vladimiros Nikolakis, and Stavros Caratzoulas

[December 2013]
Michael Tsapatsis Receives 2013 Breck Award
Michael Tsapatsis, professor of chemical engineering and materials science at the University of Minnesota, received the 2013 Breck Award from the International Zeolite Association (IZA) along with Jurgen Caro, professor of physical chemistry at Leibniz University, for their pioneering work on the processing of zeolite and MOF nanostructures enabling separation membranes. They received the prize during the Moscow International Zeolite Conference in July. The Breck Award was established in 1983 and is named for Donald W. Breck of the Union Carbide Corporation who was a major figure in the early development of synthetic molecular sieves and one of the founders of the IZA.

[December 2013]
Featured Back Cover
“Core–Shell Nanocatalyst Design by Combining High-Throughput Experiments and First-Principles Simulations,” Nageswara Rao Peela, Weiqing Zheng, Ivan C. Lee, Ayman M. Karim and Dionisios G. Vlachos

[November 2013]
Paul Dauenhauer Presents at AIChE Boston Dinner Meeting
Paul Dauenhauer, assistant professor of chemical engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst presented “Green Chemicals from Biomass"” at the AIChE Boston dinner meeting where he received the AIChE Boston Mackerel Award.

[November 2013]
Shuting Feng Receives Senior Thesis Winter Session Scholars Award
Shuting Feng, a University of Delaware senior who participated in CCEI's REU program during the summer of 2013, was selected to receive the Senior Thesis Winter Session Scholars Award, which consists of a monetary award.

[November 2013]
Paul Dauenhauer Appointed to Associate Editorial Board of CES
Paul Dauenhauer, assistant professor of chemical engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst has been appointed to the Associate Editorial Board of the Chemical Engineering Science journal.

[October 2013]
Eyas Mahmoud Runner Up in CCP Poster Contest
Graduate student Eyas Mahmoud was runner up in the Catalysis Club of Philadelphia (CCP) poster contest held on October 24, 2013. (Advised by Professor Raul Lobo)

[October 2013]
Nima Nikbin Receives Eastman Chemical Student Award
Graduate student Nima Nikbin received the Eastman Chemical Student Award during an annual symposium sponsored by UD's Catalysis Center for Science and Technology. Nima's research focuses on the applications of quantum chemical calculations and theoretical chemistry to the analysis of catalysis problems of biomass derived molecules. He has investigated the difficult problem of understanding the molecular basis for catalytic activity and selectivity in the liquid phase for molecules as complex as fructose. This award recognizes his research accomplishments and the breadth of his research activities. (Advised by Professor Dion Vlachos)

[August 2013]
Dallas Swift Receives Travel Award to AIChE Annual Meeting
Dallas Swift, graduate student at the University of Delaware, received a travel award from the Catalysis and Reaction Engineering (CRE) Division. The award, which is intended to assist graduate students with travel expenses to attend the AIChE Annual Meeting and present results of their research, consists of a monetary award and a ticket to the CRE Division Dinner where recipients are officially recognized. (Advised by Professor Dion Vlachos)

[June 2013]
Eyas Mahmoud Receives NSF GRFP Fellowship
Graduate student Eyas Mahmoud recently was awarded the NSF GRFP fellowship. This award is given to approximately 2,000 students nationwide who are pursuing graduate degrees in technical fields with research interests in areas that have broad impact in the scientific community and society in general. (Advised by Professor Raul Lobo)

[June 2013]
Nima Nikbin Receives Kokes Award
Graduate student Nima Nikbin was the recipient of the Kokes Award at the 23rd North American Catalysis Society (NACS) Meeting. The travel award covers a significant portion of the transportation, lodging, and conference registration costs. (Advised by Professor Dion Vlachos)

[JUNE 2013]
CCEI's New Process Featured by Plastic News
CCEI's new high-yield process to make paraxylene featured in Plastic News article about Micromidas Inc., a start-up company in California.

[NOVEMBER 2012]
Chris Jones Receives 2013 Paul H. Emmett Award
Chris Jones received the 2013 Paul H. Emmett Award in Fundamental Catalysis for his contributions to fundamental advances in catalysis at the interface between heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis. This award recognizes an individual's contributions to the field of catalysis, particularly in discovering and understanding catalytic phenomena, proposing catalytic reaction mechanisms, and identifying and describing catalytic sites and species.
Go to top