In the Environmental Catalysis Lab, we focus on understanding reaction mechanisms on and along a catalyst surface. Our research spans fundamental understanding of catalytic surfaces (reaction mechanism development) to thinking about application (degradation studies and more realistic reaction conditions). With such knowledge, our goal is to design better catalysts, both at the active site scale, and at the reactor scale, through tailor-designing catalyst active sites and active site densities. We currently have three ongoing research themes: 1) engine exhaust emissions reductions, 2) methane activation and upgrading and 3) understanding catalyst degradation mechanisms. Within each of these areas, we focus on understanding the reaction mechanisms and how they might change under different reaction environments. To do so, we synthesize well-designed catalysts, from powder to pellet to structure supported samples, and use probe reactions and surface characterization techniques to define the adsorbates, reaction intermediates and reaction steps on the catalyst surface.
We are located in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Virginia.