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Staff information


Aaron Appel

Catalysis Science
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
MSIN: K2-57
Richland, WA 99352


Aaron Appel is an organometallic chemist with a focus on basic energy research related to the production and use of fuels through catalysis and electrocatalysis. He is currently leading the molecular catalysis effort on CO2 reduction and fuel utilization, and is also working as part of the Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis, an Energy Frontier Research Center. For the reduction of CO2 and subsequent fuel utilization, the goal of the work is the design of new catalysts with specific emphasis on the use of bifunctional interactions and thermochemical considerations. Dr. Appel's role in the Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis is in thermochemical measurements, especially as they pertain to the production and utilization of H2.

Dr. Appel's primary areas of expertise are thermochemical measurements, electrochemistry, catalyst design and synthetic chemistry, small molecule spectroscopy, and mass spectrometry. Dr. Appel also has a background in CO2 capture research, particularly in developing new methods with higher energy efficiency, such as electrochemically switchable CO2 capture.

Research Interests

  • Electrochemistry: Utilization of electrochemistry for the conversion of electrical energy to chemical energy through electrocatalysis. Controlled substrate binding using electrochemical switching, including CO2 capture and concentration. Hydrogen production and utilization and CO2 capture, concentration, and conversion are all of primary interest.
  • Fundamental thermodynamic studies of bond strengths: Determination of bond strengths using thermodynamic cycles through the study of equilibria and electrochemical processes, particularly as related to catalysis.
  • Synthetic inorganic and organometallic chemistry: Synthesis of relevant species to catalysis and electrocatalysis, particularly for fuel production and utilization. Characterization of synthetic species by electrochemistry, mass spectrometry, NMR, EPR, and other applicable techniques.

Education and Credentials

  • B.S. in Chemistry from Washington State University, Pullman
  • Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from University of Colorado, Boulder

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • American Chemical Society

PNNL Publications








  • Holladay JE, HM Brown, AM Appel, and ZC Zhang. 2008. "Novel Hydride Transfer Catalysis for Carbohydrate Conversions." In Proceedings of the 22nd Conference on Catalysis of Organic Reactions, vol. 123, ed. ML Prunier, pp. 411-418.  CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 


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