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Materials Science and Engineering Seminar Series

Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Kimball Hall, B11

MSE Seminar 2/7: Kimball B11 @ 4pm
Thomas F. Jaramillo
Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University
Photon Sciences, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Director, SUNCAT Center for Interface Science and Catalysis

Developing catalysts and sustainable processes for the production and use of fuels and chemicals

Society has benefitted tremendously from the science and engineering efforts that have brought crucial fuels and chemical products to market at a global-scale based on fossil feedstocks: oil, coal, and natural gas. This includes conventional liquid fuels such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, in addition to many other important products such as plastics (e.g. polyethylene) and fertilizer (i.e. ammonia, NH3). Continuing to use fossil-based resources at such high rates, however, could potentially lead to troubling consequences ahead. This motivates the development of new chemical processes to produce the same kinds of fuels and chemicals that we rely on today, however using renewable energy and sustainable feedstocks instead.

In this talk we will discuss new processes that employ renewable energy (e.g. wind and solar) to power the production of fuels and chemicals in a sustainable manner. This effort is largely motivated by the dropping costs of renewable electricity, the growing penetration of renewables into energy markets, and the need for storing variable electricity. Central to this theme is an effort to develop catalyst materials and associated processes capable of driving important chemical transformations in a sustainable manner involving renewable energy. Specific examples include the production of hydrogen (H2),1,2 carbon-based products (e.g. hydrocarbons, alcohols),3 and ammonia (NH3) fertilizer.4

The development of catalysts with appropriate properties can serve as the basis of new, renewable pathways to produce the large-scale fuels and chemicals that could play a major role in reaching sustainability goals for the globe.

1. Z.W. Seh, J. Kibsgaard, C.F. Dickens, I. Chorkendorff, J.K. Nørskov, T.F. Jaramillo. Science, 355, 6321 (2017).
2. J.W.D. Ng, T.R. Hellstern, J. Kibsgaard, A.C. Hinckley, J.D. Benck, and T.F. Jaramillo. ChemSusChem, 8, 3512-3519 (2015).
3. C. Hahn, T. Hatsukade, Y.-G. Kim, A. Vailionis, J.H. Baricuatro, D.C. Higgins, S.A. Nitopi, M.P. Soriaga, and T.F. Jaramillo. Proc. Nat. Adad. Sci., 114, 5918–5923 (2017).
4. J.M. McEnaney, A.R. Singh, J.A. Schwalbe, J. Kibsgaard, J.C. Lin, M. Cargnello, T.F. Jaramillo, and J.K. Nørskov. Energy Environ. Sci, 10, 1621-1630 (2017).


Thomas Francisco Jaramillo is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of the SUNCAT Center for Interface Science and Catalysis at Stanford University. A native of Puerto Rico, Prof. Jaramillo first came to Stanford University to pursue his B.S. in Chemical Engineering, followed by graduate school at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) where he earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. Prof. Jaramillo then conducted post-doctoral research in the Department of Physics at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) as a Hans Christian Ørsted Post-doctoral Fellow prior to returning to Stanford to embark on his independent research career.

Prof. Jaramillo's research efforts are aimed at developing materials and processes that can accelerate important chemical transformations related to energy conversion with improved efficiency and durability. The overarching theme is the development of cost-effective, clean energy technologies that can benefit societal and economic growth while minimizing impacts to the environment. In pursuit of these goals, Prof. Jaramillo conducts fundamental studies into semiconductors and catalyst materials to understand the physical and chemical factors that govern their performance, insights which he then leverages to engineer improved materials and devices for sustainable energy.

Prof. Jaramillo has won a number of awards for his efforts, including the Resonate Award from the Resnick Institute (2014), the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists & Engineers (PECASE, 2011), the U.S. Dept. of Energy Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Program Research & Development Award (2011), the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award (2011), and the Mohr-Davidow Ventures (MDV) Innovator Award (2009).

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Event Type

Seminar, Presentation, Symposium, Colloquium


Materials Science and Engineering

Speaker Affiliation

Stanford University

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