Newswise — The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory is collaborating with Honeywell UOP to accelerate research on catalysts, which are used to speed up fuel and chemical manufacturing processes and make them more efficient.

Honeywell UOP and Argonne will expand their decade-long relationship by exploring innovative energy and chemicals production with new processes and catalysts.

“I look forward to matching Honeywell UOP’s specific needs with the great technologies, science, analytical techniques and computational tools at Argonne and other national labs,” said chemist Chris Marshall, the lead Argonne scientist in the collaboration with Honeywell UOP. “UOP has a long history at Argonne examining the nature of catalysts under realistic reaction conditions at Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source, among our other facilities.”

“Catalyst selection is critical for industry, companies want to produce one material from one feedstock without making waste products, and they also want catalysts that last longer to reduce maintenance costs.”

Starting May 1, Marshall has been working closely with Honeywell UOP scientist Wharton Sinkler to address challenges such as reducing byproducts and improving longevity.

“Catalyst selection is critical for industry,” said Marshall. “Companies want to produce one material from one feedstock without making waste products, and they also want catalysts that last longer to reduce maintenance costs.”

The collaboration will stress new techniques to synthesize and characterize catalysts while integrating them into future refinery and petrochemical processing. It also will investigate new strategies and materials to generate and store energy, and unique ways to convert bio-based carbon into fuels and chemicals.

Argonne and Honeywell UOP have a shared interest in discovering new energy conversion technologies. For Argonne, new insights on the needs of industry will further the aims of energy independence for the nation. For Honeywell UOP, discoveries will spur business growth and accelerate their ongoing research and development efforts.

Argonne will address the challenges of synthesis at its High-Throughput Research Laboratory, unravel the puzzle of characterization with high-energy X-ray beams at the Advanced Photon Source and electron microscopy at the Center for Nanoscale Materials, and further efforts to develop computational models and descriptors that predict catalytic activity via supercomputers at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility.

Honeywell UOP will examine new materials for converting natural gas to liquid fuels, meeting environmental regulations and stabilizing less-selective catalysts with a synthesis technique called atomic layer deposition. With Marshall as a guide, Honeywell UOP also will explore collaboration opportunities at Sandia National Laboratories, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory.

“We are interested in DOE capabilities at Argonne and the other national labs to improve catalyst structure, reactivity and performance,” said Sinkler. “At the micro scale, we are interested in what happens on the surface of catalysts. At the macro scale, we want to establish what the refinery of the future will look like.”

Argonne has received five of the 12 Technologist In Residence (TIR) Program cooperative agreements since the DOE began the program in September 2015. Argonne’s previous collaboration awards cover many areas, including advanced semiconductor devices with Kyma Technologies, combined heat and power systems with Capstone Turbine Corporation, powertrains of the future with Cummins and advanced sensors with BRIDG (formerly the International Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research).

The Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, Advanced Photon Source and Center for Nanoscale Materials are all DOE Office of Science User Facilities.

The TIR Program is funded by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Advanced Manufacturing Office, which supports emerging energy technologies in order to advance manufacturing competitiveness across the U.S.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit the Office of Science website.