Christopher W. Jones, Love Family Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech, will present the Andreas Acrivos Award for Professional Progress in Chemical Engineering Lecture on October 31 at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Jones won the 2016 Andreas Acrivos Award, which recognizes outstanding progress in the field of chemical engineering by one researcher in any area of chemical engineering research who is less than 45 years of age at the end of the calendar year in which the award is presented. One of the AIChE’s most prestigious awards, the awardee must have made a significant contribution to the science of chemical engineering, such as development of a new process or product in the chemical engineering field or distinguished service rendered to the profession of chemical engineering.
Jone’s lecture at the 2017 meeting (from 11:15am-12:15 p.m. in Minneapolis Convention Center Ballroom B) is titled “Engineering Amine-Modified Silicates for CO2 Separations and Catalysis.”
Worldwide energy demand is projected to grow strongly in the coming decades, with most of the growth in developing countries. Even with unprecedented growth rates in the development of renewable energy technologies such as solar, wind and bioenergy, the world will continue to rely on fossil fuels as a predominant energy source for at least the next several decades. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that anthropogenic CO2 has contributed measurably to climate change over the course of the last century. To this end, there is growing interest in new technologies that might allow continued use of fossil fuels without drastically increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations beyond currently projected levels.
In this lecture, I will describe the design and synthesis, characterization and application of new aminosilica materials that we have developed as cornerstones of new technologies for the removal of CO2 from dilute gas streams. These chemisorbents efficiently remove CO2 from simulated flue gas streams, and the CO2 capacities are actually enhanced by the presence of water, unlike in the case of physisorbents such as zeolites. Interestingly, the heat of adsorption for these sorbents is sufficiently high that the sorbents are also capable of capturing CO2 from extremely dilute gas streams, such as the ambient air. Indeed, our oxide-supported amine adsorbents are quite efficient at the direct “air capture” of CO2 and we will describe our investigations into development of new “air capture” technologies as well.
Finally, the amine-modified silica materials are known to be efficient catalysts in coupling reactions important in organic synthesis, such as aldol and nitroaldol condensations. Inspired by biological catalysts that make and break bonds using cooperative organocatalytic sites, chemocatalysts designed to promote cooperativity between amines and weakly acidic sites are shown to be highly effective catalysts. Catalyst design elements that strongly impact kinetic cooperativity will be presented.