How Do You Collect Data for Your Catalysis Research?

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energyDivider

October 5, 2021

The Accelerator a newsletter from ChemCatBio

How Do You Collect Data for Your Catalysis Research?

Kur Van Allsburg and Carrie Farberow

When you need the acid-site density of a catalyst or an adsorption energy for a catalytic intermediate, what’s your approach?

If you’re like most of us, you have to choose between measuring/computing the data yourself and a slow, manual literature search for the information. Finding specific research data in the literature is often challenging and contextual, and applying it to a new study often means hand-compiling data from multiple journal articles.

In the ChemCatBio Data Hub project, we are working to change that with our Catalyst Property Database (CPD). The CPD collects catalyst-centric data into a centralized, searchable location to make it much easier to find. In the CPD, you can search detailed metadata, such as material compositions and methods, directly rather than searching and mining journal article texts.

By making published catalyst data much easier to find and apply, we aim to enable benchmarking and advanced data science applications in catalysis while reducing duplication of effort. The CPD, which initially focuses on computed adsorption energies for intermediates on catalytic surfaces from peer-reviewed journal articles, was released in 2020 with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office and is opening this fall to external user contributions. The database is uniquely suited to catalyst development in biomass conversion, as it was designed specifically to handle complex adsorbates such as those found in biomass vapor streams. These features also make it useful in a wide range of chemical transformations.

Join us for a webinar on October 13 to learn more about goals and future plans for the CPD, applications, searching the database, and contributing your data.

Let’s improve how we use data and accelerate catalysis research!

Kurt Van Allsburg,

Carrie Farberow,

Renewable Revelation

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) cites bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) as one of several meaningful methods for removing carbon from the atmosphere—critical for mitigating climate change in “virtually all scenarios.” According to the IPCC, by capturing and storing carbon dioxide emissions released during combustion, BECCS could yield net-negative carbon emissions. BECCS’ potential for sequestering carbon largely hinges on feedstock, climate, and management practices, but the IPCC notes that it can be a “potentially permanent” carbon storage solution.

Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 2021. Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press. In press.


Now Available: NREL State of Technology Report on Ex Situ Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis of Biomass

What advances have we made in the ex situ catalytic fast pyrolysis of biomass? Review research insights, technology improvements, and modeled cost savings and greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the latest state of technology report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

ChemCatBio Researchers Participate in Butanediol Summit

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office hosted a meeting on June 11 to coordinate research on 2,3-butanediol (BDO), a promising intermediate made from biomass sugars for producing sustainable fuels and chemicals. The goal of the summit was to share information across the BDO upgrading platform—from synthesizing BDO with sugar fermentation to catalytically upgrading it into sustainable aviation fuel. Contact Richard Elander, NREL’s biochemical platform manager, for more details about the summit.

New Major Version of CatCost Released

Version 1.1.0 of CatCost, ChemCatBio’s cost estimation tool for catalysts, was released earlier this year. The update includes sensitivity analysis, Excel-to-web conversion scripts built in Python, process templates, calculation and performance improvements, and more. Join a new CatCost mailing list to stay up-to-date with future updates—coming soon!

Upcoming Events

ChemCatBio Webinar—Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Data Benchmarking and Accessibility for Faster Research With the Catalyst Property Database

Join Kurt Van Allsburg on October 13, 2021, 12–12:45 p.m. MDT for a webinar on the Catalyst Property Database (CPD). The CPD is a free, public resource designed in response to the observation that when data—such as computed reaction energetics—are used in catalyst design, they are almost always generated by the researchers seeking to use it, even if similar data have been published previously. This online event will cover the motivations for the CPD, how to search and upload data, applications, and future plans to grow types and quantity of data. Register for the webinar.

ChemCatBio-Hosted Symposium at the 2022 Spring ACS National Meeting

Abstracts are due October 11, 2021, for a ChemCatBio-hosted symposium at the American Chemical Society (ACS) national meeting. The panel will focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions through catalytic conversion of renewable and waste carbon sources. The ACS Spring 2022 meeting—themed “Bonding Through Chemistry”—will be held March 20–24, both virtually and in person in San Diego, California.

Recent Research Highlights

A chemical reaction over Zn–Y/beta and single-atom alloy composite catalysts

Selective Butene Formation in Direct Ethanol-to-C3+-Olefin Valorization over Zn–Y/Beta and Single-Atom Alloy Composite Catalysts Using In Situ-Generated HydrogenACS Catalysis


Conversion of methanol and dimethyl ether to high-octane gasoline catalyzed by beta zeolite

Spectroscopic Insight Into Carbon Speciation and Removal on a Cu/BEA Catalyst During Renewable High-Octane Hydrocarbon Synthesis, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental

Ionic liquids are a sustainable alternative to traditional volatile organic solvents

Techno-Economic Analysis of Recycled Ionic Liquid Solvent Used in a Model Colloidal Platinum Nanoparticle Synthesis, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering


Red mud catalyst is active for woody biomass in situ catalytic fast pyrolysis at 400 °C to produce bio-oil

In Situ Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis Using Red Mud Catalyst: Impact of Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis Temperature and Biomass Feedstocks, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering


Plane on runway

National Renewable Energy Lab Research Behind Biggest Sustainable Fuel Agreement in Aviation History

United Airlines and Honeywell announced a joint investment in Alder Fuels, a startup working on a “first-of-its-kind” process for producing drop-in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) that has a net-negative carbon footprint. United committed to purchase 1.5 billion gallons of SAF from Alder over 20 years—one and a half times the size of the known SAF purchase commitments of all global airlines combined. Among Alder's research partners is the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory—a key member of ChemCatBio—whose research on catalytic carbon transformation is opening new doors for converting organic waste and sustainable, non-food plant material into carbon-negative transportation fuels.

A man holds a vial of fuel

Jet Fuel from Renewable Sources Gains Efficiency Through Multi-Sector Collaboration

A patented process for converting alcohol sourced from renewable or industrial waste gases into jet or diesel fuel is being scaled up at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) through a partnership with Oregon State University and carbon-recycling experts at LanzaTech. The project will use a one-fourth commercial-scale test reactor, produced by 3D printing. Supported by ChemCatBio expertise, a new PNNL-patented catalyst converts ethanol directly into a versatile “platform” chemical called n-butene. The new process would provide a more efficient route for converting renewable and waste-derived ethanol to useful chemicals, while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by using renewable or recycled carbon feedstocks.

A plane is refueled

Aviation Research at Oak Ridge National Lab Improves Ethanol-to-Jet-Fuel Outlook

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have published an article in ACS Catalysis showcasing a catalyst capable of converting ethanol to jet fuel. The research team has been developing improved techniques for converting ethanol to C3+ olefins, which are intermediates for the production of aviation fuels. The unique composite catalyst used by the researchers achieves a higher yield of C3+ olefins than the current state of technology, thus reducing the cost of jet fuel production. These improved processes could make ethanol a substantially more competitive feedstock for the aviation industry.

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.

ChemCatBio Accelerator Newsletter Partner Logos Footer