Our 2025 Vision
Once considered a waste product, carbon now is the foundation of a vibrant new U.S. energy industry. Strides in catalysis research have equipped U.S. firms to create high-quality fuels and advanced materials from abundant, domestic carbon feedstocks found in agricultural and municipal wastes.
PNNL is on the leading edge of innovation in the development of new chemistries and materials that could open pathways to new energy storage technologies and the development of fuels derived from cheap and abundant domestic resources.
Our research focuses on attaining a deeper understanding of chemical catalysts. Catalysts are substances that can control chemical reactions without being consumed by them. Since man-made catalysts usually require high temperatures and pressures to function, their use entails higher costs and risks than those associated with enzymes—nature’s catalysts.
PNNL scientists are studying enzymes and applying their findings to develop bio-inspired catalysts and new chemical processes that are safer and more cost effective than today’s industrial catalysts. Our goal is to open the door to a new generation of cleaner, more resilient, and more cost-effective energy resources using carbon and other waste products as raw materials.
PNNL’s advanced computing and data analytics systems, and advanced chemical imaging technologies, are critical to our catalysis work. These tools equip our researchers to observe chemical reactions in real time on a molecular scale, and to manage, explore, and discover insights in the enormous data sets generated by catalysis experiments.
Argonne National Laboratory, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, University of Minnesota, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin, Washington State University