Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Energy and Sustainability

The energy and sustainability thrust within CBE@UCI aims to advance renewable energy technologies through catalysis, electrochemistry, modeling, manufacturing and process design.  Solar and wind power generation created a new opportunity to revolutionize chemical technologies. CBE faculty work on the fundamental understanding of catalytic processes though theory and modeling at atomistic (DFT and MD) and continuum (reactive and multi-phase flow) levels, surface science at electrified interfaces, providing the base for heterogeneous electrocatalysis.  Faculty also focus on materials, manufacturing and process design routes to synthesize and design catalysts and electrocatalysts with high atomic efficiency at hierarchical scales to address the challenges of efficiency in the major industrial processes (hydrogenation, selective oxidation and complex multi-pathways reduction/oxidation) and those related to electrochemical systems. Hydrogen economy with its complex integration with energy generation/distribution through manufacturing, mobility and food and water nexus is a focal point of the research of several CBE faculty. This research area involves process and device design for low temperature (polymer electrolyte) fuel cell and hydrogen/oxygen electrolyzers, advanced electrochemical and reactive separations and innovative energy storage solutions employing battery and hybrid systems.  Direct decarbonization effort includes carbon dioxide capture and reduction to chemical industry feedstock, considering carbon neutrality, further valorization and integration with biomolecular and microbial biotechnology downstream.