The Peterson group.
Picture taken February 2014.More Photos
In a new publication, we show how solar energy can be used to enhance the amount of fuel produced from biomass.Explore More
The active site in Au CO2 electrocatalysts
Electronic structure calculations and precision synthesis suggest edge sites are active for CO2 reduction while corner sites give H2.Explore More
How sulfur changes the activity of ruthenium catalysts in supercritical-water biomass gasification.Explore More
Catalysis – the fundamental engineering of chemical reactions – is responsible for nearly all chemicals produced in the synthetic and biological world. In particular, heterogeneous catalytic reactions, involving reactions at an interface, create a majority of the commodity chemicals and fuels used in today's society and are critical in enabling tomorrow's energy technologies, including fuel synthesis, biomass conversion, artificial photosynthesis, fuel cells, low-carbon fertilizers, and even batteries. Our research laboratory takes a dual approach to catalyst design, by conducting high-throughput quantum-mechanical computations that rationalize material activity (“theory”), as well as by performing laboratory-based synthesis, testing, and analysis (“experiment”).
The reactivity of heterogeneous catalysts is dictated by their atomic configurations, electronic structure, and the interaction with adsorbates. Our laboratory utilizes high-performance computing to understand the reactivity of existing catalysts and to develop design principles for new catalysts. Our experimental facilities include synthesis capabilities, a high-pressure reaction cell, and electrochemical / analytical testing facilities.
Located in the School of Engineering under the direction of Andrew Peterson, the Catalyst Design Lab combines a theoretical understanding of heterogeneous catalytic systems with laboratory-based experimental testing. Catalysts are crucial for transforming our energy economy, and our laboratory focuses on catalysts for electrofuels and biofuels.