Welcome to the First Issue of The Accelerator: A Newsletter from ChemCatBio!

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March 23, 2021

The Accelerator a newsletter from ChemCatBio

Welcome to the First Issue of The Accelerator!

Joshua Schaidle

As the Director of the Chemical Catalysis for Bioenergy Consortium (ChemCatBio), I am excited to welcome you to the first issue of The Accelerator. It is imperative that we as a global society move rapidly to dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, we must ensure that the quality of life for every person on the planet is no longer a compromise between sustainability and affordability. At ChemCatBio, we do our part to meet this urgent need by accelerating the catalyst and process development cycle for bioenergy applications, spanning carbon-rich renewable and waste feedstocks. We leverage world-class expertise and capabilities across the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories to overcome critical catalysis challenges, such as irreversible deactivation and low carbon yields. We will use this newsletter to share ChemCatBio updates, including technology advancements and breakthroughs, development of tools for improving research efficiency, dissemination of knowledge through publications and webinars, and opportunities for collaboration.

I want to express my appreciation to DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) for their continued support of ChemCatBio, especially Kevin Craig, Nichole Fitzgerald, Andrea Bailey, Jeremy Leong, Sonia Hammache, Trevor Smith, Ian Rowe, acting BETO Director Valerie Sarisky-Reed, and former BETO Director Jonathan Male. Without their support, none of our work would be possible.

Lastly, thank you for subscribing to our newsletter and for being part of our sustainable energy future. Let’s go change the world together.

Create together,

Josh Schaidle

Renewable Revelation

The manufacture of 18 products (among thousands) accounts for 80% of energy demand in the chemical industry and 75% of greenhouse gas emissions. Catalyst and related process improvements could save as much as 13 exajoules and 1 gigatonne of carbon dioxide equivalent per year by 2050 versus a “business-as-usual” scenario.

Source: International Energy Agency (IEA). 2013. Technology Roadmap: Energy and GHG Reductions in the Chemical Industry via Catalytic Processes. IEA: Paris, France.


Bio-Renewable Surfactants Project Wins R&D 100 Special Recognition Bronze Award

In September 2020, the ChemCatBio project, “Oleo-Furan Surfactants Made from Renewable Biomass,” led by Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sironix Renewables, received a prestigious R&D 100 Bronze Special Recognition Award in Green Tech. The research team won for their work developing catalytic chemistries and scale-up approaches for commercialization of new biorenewable oleo-furan surfactant technology with a goal of improving the economics and accelerating commercialization of oleo-furan surfactant for eco-friendly and more effective detergents.

Upcoming Events

ChemCatBio Hosts ACS Symposium on Carbon Utilization in April

ChemCatBio will host the “Catalytic Conversion of Renewable and Waste Carbon Sources: Approaches to Improve Carbon Utilization” symposium at the virtual Spring 2021 ACS National Meeting, April 5–16. Topics include:

  1. Catalysts and processes for the conversion of biomass- and waste-derived intermediates to fuels and chemicals with high carbon efficiency           
  2. Cost-driven catalyst design, synthesis, and characterization
  3. Computational analysis of catalytic surfaces, reactions, and reactors
  4. Catalyst deactivation and regeneration for renewable processes.

This year the symposium will consist of live-streaming presentations with Q&A immediately following each talk; as a virtual event, the registration costs are significantly lower than past meetings. Register today!

Recent Research Highlights

Diagram of Scalable Solution-Phase Synthesis of Molybdenum Carbide Nanoparticles for Thermocatalytic CO2 Hydrogenation

An Exceptionally Mild and Scalable Solution-Phase Synthesis of Molybdenum Carbide Nanoparticles for Thermocatalytic CO2 Hydrogenation, Journal of the American Chemical Society


A Hybrid Pathway to Biojet Fuel via 2,3-Butanediol

A Hybrid Pathway to Biojet Fuel via 2,3-Butanediol, Sustainable Energy & Fuels

Ga/ZSM-5 Catalyst Improves Hydrocarbon Yields and Increases Alkene Selectivity During Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis of Biomass with Co-Fed Hydrogen

Ga/ZSM-5 Catalyst Improves Hydrocarbon Yields and Increases Alkene Selectivity During Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis of Biomass with Co-Fed Hydrogen, Green Chemistry

Single-Step Conversion of Ethanol to n-Butene over Ag-ZrO2/SiO2 Catalysts

Single-Step Conversion of Ethanol to n-Butene over Ag-ZrO2/SiO2 Catalysts, ACS Catalysis

From Wet Waste to Flight: NREL Announces Net-Zero-Carbon Jet Fuel

With jet fuel demand expected to increase substantially through 2050, and airlines pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, innovations in aviation fuels, engines, and technologies are critical to helping mitigate climate change and decarbonize the transportation sector. That task got a burst of energy with the publication of a new paper by scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the University of Dayton, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and others on carbon-negative sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Funded by BETO and ChemCatBio, the article was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and outlines a biorefining process using food waste and other wet waste to produce SAF that is compatible with existing jet engines and capable of supporting net-zero-carbon flight. The result is a fuel refining process that offers airlines both a short-term solution to quickly lower emissions and a long-term blueprint for higher SAF blends that create deep emissions reductions. Read more about the latest breakthrough in decarbonized aviation.

Prometheus Fuels Licenses Energy-Saving ORNL Ethanol-to-Jet-Fuel Process

Prometheus Fuels has licensed an ethanol-to-jet-fuel conversion process developed by researchers at ORNL and supported by BETO in collaboration with ChemCatBio. The ORNL technology will enable cost-competitive production of jet fuel and coproduction of butadiene for use in renewable polymer synthesis. Learn more.

The Accelerator is a newsletter of ChemCatBio, a consortium of eight DOE national labs dedicated to accelerating the catalyst and process development cycle for bioenergy applications. ChemCatBio is part of the Energy Materials Network, funded by the Bioenergy Technologies Office in DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

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