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Smarter Synthesis of Catalysts for Biofuel Upgrading

Project Advisor
Professor Jillian Goldfarb - goldfarb@cornell.edu

Project Area/Concentration
Biofuels; Materials Synthesis; Catalyst

Project Description
A long-term effort in the Goldfarb lab aims at developing a new design framework for heterogeneous hierarchical porous materials that accounts for the effect of both material properties and structure on a composite system, to accelerate the design and development of greener catalysts for reactive transport processes. This M.Eng. project will combine experimental fabrication and characterization with feedback from collaborators in computational materials design to fabricate greener catalysts for biofuel upgrading. Specifically, a team of 2-3 students will focus on designing new materials for the conversion of syngas (H2 and CO) to hydrocarbons using a Design of Experiments approach. The students will develop an understanding of the key variables driving catalyst surface area, structure, activity and selectivity that result from the polymer templating of metal nanomaterials onto silica structures.

Students will learn a variety of materials fabrication and characterization techniques and analytical chemistry laboratory skills and will develop an understanding of the key bottlenecks in biofuel upgrading that we must overcome to implement a modern biorefinery. Students with a background in Chemical, Environmental and/or Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, and/or Materials Science will be best suited for this project. This project is open to teams of 2-3 students.

Combined materials and structural design approach for the greener design and synthesis of heterogeneous hierarchical materials for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis
Figure 1. Combined materials and structural design approach for the greener design and synthesis of heterogeneous hierarchical materials for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis

Possible Courses

Course number Course title
AEP 6610 Nanocharacterization
BEE 6640 Sustainable Bioenergy Production on Marginal Lands of New York and the Northeast
BEE 6880 Applied Modeling and Simulation for Renewable Energy Systems
CHEME 5207 Hydrocarbon Resources
CHEME 5208 Renewable Resources from Agriculture
CHEME 6650 Energy Engineering
CHEME 6660 Analysis of Sustainable Energy Systems
CHEME 6661 Bioenergy and Biofuels Module
CHEME 7110 Advanced Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics
CHEME 7130 Chemical Kinetics and Transport
CHEME 7310 Advanced Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer
MSE 5150 Structures and Materials for Sustainable Energy Systems
MSE 5330 Materials for Energy Production, Storage, and Conversion
MSE 5550 Introduction to Composite Materials
MSE 5810 Materials Chemistry
MSE 5820 Mechanical Properties of Materials, Processing, and Design
MSE 5830 Thermodynamics of Condensed Systems
MSE 5840 Kinetics, Diffusion, and Phase Transformation
MSE 6010 Chemistry of Materials
MSE 6030 Thermodynamics of Materials
MSE 6210 Solid State Chemistry