283909 Unravelling Structure-Activity Relationships of Heterogeneous Catalysts

Sunday, October 28, 2012
Hall B (Convention Center )
Ron C. Runnebaum, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

My PhD thesis, with Prof. Bruce C. Gates, developed a foundation for the fundamental understanding of the catalytic chemistry for deoxygenation of oxygen-containing hydrocarbons.  Our goal was to determine such a detailed reaction network for compounds representative of lignin-derived bio-oils and an important functional group characterizing compounds in them.  Data characterizing these reactions determined an approximate reaction network for each reactant and generalization of the results to reactant types and reaction classes, and conversion data sufficient to approximately quantify kinetics of the principal reactions in the networks.  The data provide understanding to allow resolution of the roles of the separate catalyst functionalities (e.g. solid acid and metal) and provide a basis for prediction of reactivities of whole bio-oils.

One postdoctoral research project, with Prof. Alexander Katz and Dr. Stacey Zones, focuses on the synthesis and characterization (including catalysis) of delaminated zeolites, which retain a high-degree of crystallinity and have a large external surface area available for reaction of bulky reactants and products.  Another research project with Prof. Alexander Katz investigates the effects of organic ligands on catalysis by heterogeneous metal-cluster catalysts; catalytic characterization of these grafted metallocalixarenes by using probe reactions enable elucidation of structure-reactivity relationships for these materials.

Future work will build upon my expertise in both catalyst synthesis and heterogeneous catalysis to develop fundamental understanding for the formation of useful fuels and chemicals and to provide a basis for understanding more complicated systems.

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