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April 2014

Aaron Appel's Invited Article on Catalysts for Renewable Fuels Appears in Nature

Congratulations to Dr. Aaron Appel, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, on having his invited News & Views article published in the April 9 issue of Nature, an important scientific journal. A News & Views article is an invited piece, written for a general audience, about a study that appears in the issue. Appel wrote about Stanford University's extremely fast and efficient copper catalyst that turns carbon monoxide into ethanol fuel. The catalyst is more active, not because of the size of the copper particles on the supporting material but, rather, because of the junctions between the particles.

The catalyst generates ethanol with fewer byproducts than previous catalysts. Also, it is more energy efficient. The team's catalyst is a major step in storing wind or solar energy in liquid fuel.

Appel's invitation to write for Nature came about because of his expertise in the electrocatalytic conversions. An organometallic chemist at PNNL's Institute for Integrated Catalysis, he is the principal investigator on a project designing fast, efficient catalysts that turn carbon dioxide into fuel. The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Sciences funds the research. He also works at the Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis, an Energy Frontier Research Center led by PNNL, where he provides expertise on thermochemical measurements relevant to catalysis.

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