Surface Interactions of bio-based molecules at the Nanoscale
The primary focus of our laboratory is to understand how molecules of biological origin interact with surfaces. Bio-based molecules are highly active as a result of the presence of oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur containing functional groups. This "excessive" chemical functionality makes using these molecules in reactions that occur on surfaces quite challanging to control. Understanding these interactions will help us better engineer these systems to develop more effective applied systems.
The research problems we tackle have a direct impact on catalysis and transport phenomena. The applications range from producing sustainable energy, generating power and separation of biomolecules. We have active research projects in heterogeneous catalysis for dehydrogenation (hydrogen production from biobased oxygenates), deoxygenation (hydrocarbons production from biomass based oxygenates), transesterification (biodiesel production from algae), electrochemistry (charge transport in enzymatic fuel cell electrodes)and extraction (algal oil separation).