Currently, 80 percent of all chemical products and energy carriers are made using catalysts in at least one of the processing steps, producing an economic impact estimated to be over $10 trillion per year worldwide. The long-term transition to a sustainable economy requires not only reinventing the large processes of today, but also enabling the harvest and use of dispersed renewable carbon and energy resources. These challenges define the mission of the Institute for Integrated Catalysis (IIC). We are providing the insight, the synthetic tools, and the engineering concepts to enable catalyzed chemical and chemical-electrical energy interconversions to minimize the carbon footprint of the global energy system. In addition, we are developing new experimental and theoretical tools to better understand the structure and properties of working catalysts to be used as guidelines for novel catalysts and reaction routes. And we are translating the fundamental insights gained into new catalytic technology.
Relieving the Pressure
We are developing new technologies that can operate at lower temperatures and pressures. To achieve this, we are learning from how enzymes, nature’s catalysts, handle the problem. By developing a foundational understanding of catalytic chemistries, we are designing new catalysts and catalytic synthesis routes. The IIC integrates more than 120 scientists and engineers from across the laboratory working in cross-disciplinary collaborations to address these challenges.