Seeking a breakthrough on catalysts

first_imgThey have been a fundamental part of modern industry for more than a century, but the development of new catalysts to speed chemical processes has remained frustratingly hit-or-miss.Now, a group of Harvard researchers is approaching the problem in an entirely new way.Working with colleagues at several national laboratories and other partnering institutions, researchers at the Department of Energy-funded Energy Frontier Research Center’s Integrated Mesoscale Architectures for Sustainable Catalysis (IMASC) at Harvard are combining tightly-controlled experimental conditions and computational tools to develop novel methods for developing catalysts and new ways to understand the process of catalysis.Led by Cynthia Friend, the Theodore William Richards Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Materials Science and director of the Rowland Institute, the IMASC researchers have gained new insight into exactly how catalysis works — findings that could play an important role in the design and development of more energy-efficient catalysts. The work is described in a Dec. 19 paper published in Nature Materials.“This is really a paradigm shift in catalyst discovery,” Challa S.S.R. Kumar, the program’s managing director, said. “For 100 years or more, this was a trial-and-error process. In recent years, people are striving for a more systematic approach. Our center, through synergistic collaboration between the investigators from the partnering institutions, is establishing new principles for understanding catalytic reactions under very tightly controlled conditions, with computational modeling. These principles are used to develop catalysts that work under real-world conditions.”With those principles in mind, researchers are currently exploring the use of nanoporous silver-gold alloys as improved catalysts.“These catalyst materials are designed based on our model systems,” Kumar said.To aid in the development of catalytic materials, Friend and colleagues from the Lawrence Berkeley, Brookhaven, and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories set out to observe the process of catalysis as it happens. Cutting-edge scientific tools yielded images of the atoms in the material and monitored how the composition of the catalyst surface changed. Microscopy facilities at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials at Brookhaven and the Advanced Light Source at Berkeley were essential for these experiments.“We know we can design the catalysts and then transmit them to realistic conditions, but we didn’t know how the catalyst materials behave as catalysis is occurring,” Kumar said. “That’s a critical piece of information that has not been taken into consideration when designing new catalysts.“What we have shown with this paper is that we now have the tools to investigate how catalysts dynamically change just before catalysis, during catalysis, and after catalysis,” he continued. “And these dynamic changes can be correlated to the activity and selectivity of the catalyst.”Improving industrial chemical processes isn’t the only reason for developing new catalysts.Nearly one-third of the world’s energy is devoted to the chemical industry, Kumar said, so finding ways to make those processes more efficient — either by speeding them up or by enabling them to take place at lower temperatures — could yield a significant environmental impact.“There is a huge carbon footprint left by many of these chemical processes, some of which are more than 100 years old,” Kumar said. “If we can reduce the energy budget for those processes … it could have a tremendous impact on energy usage, and dramatically change that carbon footprint. And now we have the tools to do that.”last_img read more

Campbell boosts Scorpions ahead of tough clash

first_img It also put Jamaica to within a point of qualification of the semi-finals, with two return-leg group matches to go. Their next matchup will be today against the Pride, who defeated them in their first meeting with their final group game being against ICC Americas. Campbell, who at the start of the tournament was struggling with the bat while opening, the innings, but after three matches was pushed down the order to number six, in identifying where the team came up well, pointed to their efforts in the field. “We just stuck with our plans as we weren’t necessarily getting quick wickets, and it turned around the game.” Campbell, who is also vice-captain of the team, in the meanwhile, was happy with his returns and said that he was looking forward to their next match. “I am very happy with my performance. It has been going well as this is my third innings at number six, and I have got two good scores. I even wanted to be at the end, but unfortunately, that did not happen. But the contribution was good enough.” He added: “I also thought we bowled really well. Jerome Taylor and all the guys. It was a very good effort. We have Barbados next, and definitely, that will be a tough game. We just need to continue to stick to our plans.” SCOREBOARD JAGUARS A Fudadin run out 57 R Chandrika run out 13 R Reifer c Taylor b Campbell 54 *L Johnson c Powell b McCarthy 3 S Chanderpaul c Taylor b Campbell 17 C Barnwell lbw b Campbell 0 S Jacobs st Walton b Campbell 4 +A Bramble c Miller b Powell 39 V Permaul c wkp Walton b Taylor 30 D Bishoo run out 0 R Beaton not out 1 Extras: (lb6, w11) 17 TOTAL: (all out, 49.4 overs) 235 Fall of wickets: 1-34, 2-124, 3-129, 4-147, 5-147, 6-164, 7-165, 8-224, 9-226, 10-235. Bowling: Taylor 10-1-44-1 (w3), Leveridge 6-2-26-0 (w2), Powell 6-0-32-1 (w2), Jacobs 2-0-14-0 (w1), Miller 10-0-55-0, Campbell 10-0-43-4 (w3), McCarthy 5-0-15-1. Result: Scorpions won by 20 runs. Man-of-the-Match: John Campbell. Extras: (lb4, w13) 17 TOTAL: (all out, 49.4 overs) 255 Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-39, 3-129, 4-154, 5-182, 6-229, 7-239, 8-245, 9-254, 10-255. Bowling: Reifer 8.4-1-38-4 (w4), Beaton 8-1-33-2 (w5), Jacobs 8-0-54-0, Permaul 8-0-44-0, Bishoo 7-0-37-0, Barnwell 10-0-45-2 (w4). Man-of-the-Match, batsman John Campbell, has described Jamaica Scorpions’ victory over Guyana Jaguars in return-leg action of the WICB Regional Super50 as a major boost in their quest to qualify for the semi-finals of the tournament. Jamaica led by 42, and a four-wicket haul from Campbell defeated Guyana by 20 runs in the contest, which was played at Kensington Oval. Electing to bat, the Scorpions first posted 255, with Campbell playing second fiddle to United States-native, opener Steven Taylor, who got 86, and AndrÈ McCarthy, who made 45. The Robert Samuels-coached unit then returned to limit Guyana to 235, with Campbell, bowling part-time off-spin, getting good support from fellow part-timer, McCarthy, one for 15 off five overs, and all-rounder Rovman Powell, one for 32 off 6.4. “It’s a big boost for us beating Guyana twice,” stated Campbell. “It was a crucial win as basically, it could be described as a final whereby we knew that if we had won, we would have all but knocked them out of the semi-finals.” The victory, which was Jamaica’s fourth in six outings with the other two ending in defeats, also maintained their position of second in Group B behind tournament co-hosts Barbados Pride. CLOSE TO QUALIFICATION SCORPIONS +C Walton c Jacobs b Reifer 6 S Taylor run out 86 J Blackwood c Jacobs b Reifer 5 A McCarthy c Beaton b Barnwell 45 D Thomas c Bishoo b Barnwell 17 J Campbell run out 42 R Powell c Jacobs b Beaton 24 D Jacobs c (sub) Hetmyer b Beaton 3 J Taylor b Reifer 8 *N Miller c and b Reifer 1 R Leveridge not out 1last_img read more