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2014 Distinguished Lecturers
In 2008, GCEP established a distinguished lecturer program where our leading principal investigators travel to each of the sponsor's research centers for a day-long visit. The lecturers present their research highlights and engage in dialogue with members of the sponsor's in-house R&D team.
Joan Brennecke Photo
Distinguished Lecturer: Joan F. Brennecke
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
University of Notre Dame

Presentation Title: CO2 Separations with Ionic Liquids

Abstract: Ionic liquids (ILs) present intriguing possibilities for the removal of carbon dioxide from a wide variety of different gas mixtures, including post-combustion flue gas, pre-combustion gases, air and raw natural gas streams. Even by physical absorption, many ILs provide sufficient selectivity over N2, O2, CH4 and other gases. However, when CO2 partial pressures are low, the incorporation of functional groups to chemically react with the CO2 can dramatically increase capacity, while maintaining or even enhancing selectivity.

In this presentation, Professor Joan Brennecke will discuss five major advances in the development of ILs for CO2 capture applications. First, she will show how the reaction stoichiometry can be doubled over conventional aqueous amine solutions to reach one mole of CO2 per mole of IL by incorporating the amine on the anion. Second, she will demonstrate how to virtually eliminate any viscosity increase upon complexation of the IL with CO2 by using aprotic heterocyclic anions (AHA ILs) that eliminate the pervasive hydrogen bonding and salt bridge formation, the origin of the viscosity increase. Third, Brennecke will describe the advantage of phosphonium cations over their imidazolium counterparts. Fourth, she will elucidate the role water plays in the reaction chemistry, the CO2 uptake and the viscosity. Finally, she will discuss the role that the cation plays in the reaction chemistry.

GCEP: Brennecke is a principal investigator on the current GCEP research program, Novel Ionic Liquids for Pre-Combustion CO2 Capture.

Biography: Brennecke is the Keating-Crawford Professor of Chemical Engineering and director of the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame University, which she joined after completing her Ph.D. and M.S. degrees at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, and her B. S. at the University of Texas-Austin.

Her research interests are primarily in the development of less environmentally harmful solvents, including supercritical fluids and ionic liquids, and modeling their thermodynamics, thermophysical properties, phase behavior and separations.

Her major awards include the 2001 Ipatieff Prize from the American Chemical Society, the 2006 Professional Progress Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the 2007 J. M. Prausnitz Award at the Eleventh International Conference on Properties and Phase Equilibria, the 2008 Stieglitz Award from the American Chemical Society, the 2009 E. O. Lawrence Award from the U.S. Department of Energy, and the 2014 E. V. Murphree Award in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry from the American Chemical Society.

Brennecke serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Chemical & Engineering Data. Her 130+ research publications have garnered more than 11,000 citations. She was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 2012.

Mark Brongersma Photo

Distinguished Lecturer: Mark Brongersma
Department of Materials Science and Engineering - School of Engineering
Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials
Stanford University

Presentation Title: Nanophotonics: The Art of Managing Photons at the Nanoscale

Abstract: Nanophotonics is an exciting new field of science and technology that is directed towards making the smallest possible structures and devices that can manipulate light. Until recently, it was thought that the fundamental laws of diffraction would preclude much further miniaturization of the micron-scale photonic devices we have today.

In this presentation, Professor Mark Brongersma will show how semiconductor and metallic nanostructures can mold the flow of light in unexpected ways and well below the diffraction limit. As light plays an important role in a wide variety of technologies, it is a worthwhile exercise to explore the many opportunities that this newly found ability might bring. He will illustrate the use of metallic and high refractive-index semiconductor nanostructures in a variety of applications and then focus on their use in solar energy-harvesting devices.

At the end of his presentation, Brongersma will also discuss several exciting future opportunities for realizing new types of hybrid semiconductor/plasmonic devices that capitalize on the relative strengths of each of the constituent materials to obtain new functionalities.

GCEP: Brongersma is a principal investigator on two current GCEP research programs:

  1. Dielectric Metasurfaces for Light Trapping in High-Efficiency Low-Cost Silicon Solar Cells, and
  2. High-Efficiency Thin Film Solar Cells Using Nanoscale Light Management.
He has completed work on three other GCEP efforts: Plasmonic Photovoltaics, Lateral Nanoconcentrator Nanowire Multijunction Photovoltaic Cells and Nanostructured Metal-Organic Composite Solar Cells.

Biography: Brongersma is a professor and Keck Faculty Scholar in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University. He leads a research team of 10 students and four postdocs. Their research is directed towards the development and physical analysis of new materials and structures that find use in nanostructured electronic and photonic devices. His most recent work has focused on solar energy harvesting devices, light sources, modulators, detectors and nanostructures that can manipulate and actively control the flow of light at the nanoscale.

Brongersma has given more than 55 invited presentations and tutorials in the last five years on the topic of nanophotonics and plasmonics. He has authored\co-authored more than 140 publications, including papers in Science, Nature Photonics, Nature Materials and Nature Nanotechnology. He also holds a number of patents in the area of Si microphotonics and plasmonics.

He received a National Science Foundation Career Award, the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching, the International Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences (Physics) for his work on plasmonics, and is a fellow of the Optical Society of America, SPIE and the American Physical Society. Brongersma received his Ph.D. in materials science from the FOM Institute in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in 1998. From 1998-2001 he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the California Institute of Technology.

Scott Barnett Photo

Distinguished Lecturer: Scott Barnett
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Northwestern University

Presentation Title: High-Efficiency Electrical Energy Storage Using Reversible Solid Oxide Cells

Abstract: Electrical energy storage is a key technology needed for enabling increased utilization of renewable wind and solar energy resources. While many technologies are being considered, the grid “load shifting” application – storing excess electricity for several hours until there is demand – remains challenging. In this presentation, Professor Scott Barnett will discuss the use of reversible solid oxide fuel cells for grid-scale energy storage. Although fuel cells can provide large energy storage capacities by using large storage tanks/caverns for product gases, they are often discounted because of low round-trip efficiency.

This GCEP project focuses on improving efficiency by using new storage chemistry, where the fuel cycles between H2O-CO2-rich and CH4-rich gases. Thermodynamic calculations show that decreasing the cell operating temperature from 800°C to 600°C, and/or increasing the operating pressure to ~ 10 atm, makes the electrolysis reaction less endothermic by increasing CH4 production. This in turn reduces the thermally neutral electrolysis potential, allowing much-improved round-trip efficiency. In his presentation, Barnett will discuss the attributes of the cells needed for this application, i.e., providing useful current densities at relatively low overpotentials and ~ 600°C. A candidate being developed in the Barnett group, utilizing doped lanthanum gallate electrolytes, will also be described. Results on the stability of solid oxide cells under thousands of current-switching cycles, a key question that has not previously been explored, will be presented.

Barnett will also discuss system simulations showing how these devices can be integrated with underground pressurized natural gas storage caverns to provide large energy capacity and round-trip efficiency >70%. Estimations of the technology cost will be reviewed.

GCEP: Barnett is a principal investigator on the GCEP research program, A Novel Solid Oxide Flow Battery.

Biography: Barnett is a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University. He leads a research team of eight students and two postdocs. Their research utilizes physical vapor and colloidal deposition methods for producing ceramic materials with energy applications, including Li-ion battery electrodes and solid oxide fuel cells. Focus areas include three-dimensional tomography of electrode microstructure for understanding electrochemical processes and degradation phenomena, SOFC operation with hydrocarbon fuels, and development of new fuel cell materials.

Barnett has given more than 50 invited presentations and tutorials in the last five years on the topics of fuel cells, batteries, and energy storage. He has authored\co-authored more than 200 refereed publications, including papers in Science, Nature, and Nature Materials (h-index = 50 [Web of Science]; h-index = 54 [Google Scholar]). He also holds 12 patents in the areas of solid oxide fuel cells and hard coatings.

He received the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, Teacher of the Year award in Materials Science, the Cheng Tsang Man Endowed Professorship, the Otto Mønsted Guest Professorship and is a fellow of the American Vacuum Society. Barnett received his Ph.D. in metallurgy from the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign in 1982, and held postdoctoral appointments at the University of Illinois and Linkøping University (Sweden).



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