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  • richardmitnick 3:14 pm on February 2, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "To decarbonize the chemical industry electrify it", , As the world races to find pathways to decarbonization the chemical industry has been largely untouched., , Chemistry, In 2019 the industrial sector as a whole was responsible for 24 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions., The chemical industry is the world’s largest industrial energy consumer and the third-largest source of industrial emissions.,   

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “To decarbonize the chemical industry, electrify it” 

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Kelley Travers | MIT Energy Initiative

    Electrification powered by low-carbon sources should be considered more broadly as a viable decarbonization pathway for the chemical industry, argue researchers. Photo: David Arrowsmith/Unsplash.

    The chemical industry is the world’s largest industrial energy consumer and the third-largest source of industrial emissions, according to the International Energy Agency. In 2019 the industrial sector as a whole was responsible for 24 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. And yet, as the world races to find pathways to decarbonization the chemical industry has been largely untouched.

    “When it comes to climate action and dealing with the emissions that come from the chemical sector, the slow pace of progress is partly technical and partly driven by the hesitation on behalf of policymakers to overly impact the economic competitiveness of the sector,” says Dharik Mallapragada, a principal research scientist at the MIT Energy Initiative.

    With so many of the items we interact with in our daily lives — from soap to baking soda to fertilizer — deriving from products of the chemical industry, the sector has become a major source of economic activity and employment for many nations, including the United States and China. But as the global demand for chemical products continues to grow, so do the industry’s emissions.

    New sustainable chemical production methods need to be developed and deployed and current emission-intensive chemical production technologies need to be reconsidered, urge the authors of a new paper published in Joule [below].

    Graphical abstract from the science paper.

    Researchers from DC-MUSE, a multi-institution research initiative, argue that electrification powered by low-carbon sources should be viewed more broadly as a viable decarbonization pathway for the chemical industry. In this paper, they shine a light on different potential methods to do just that.

    “Generally, the perception is that electrification can play a role in this sector — in a very narrow sense — in that it can replace fossil fuel combustion by providing the heat that the combustion is providing,” says Mallapragada, a member of DC-MUSE. “What we argue is that electrification could be much more than that.”

    The researchers outline four technological pathways — ranging from more mature, near-term options to less technologically mature options in need of research investment — and present the opportunities and challenges associated with each.

    The first two pathways directly replace fossil fuel-produced heat (which facilitates the reactions inherent in chemical production) with electricity or electrochemically generated hydrogen. The researchers suggest that both options could be deployed now and potentially be used to retrofit existing facilities. Electrolytic hydrogen is also highlighted as an opportunity to replace fossil fuel-produced hydrogen (a process that emits carbon dioxide) as a critical chemical feedstock. In 2020, fossil-based hydrogen supplied nearly all hydrogen demand (90 megatons) in the chemical and refining industries — hydrogen’s largest consumers.

    The researchers note that increasing the role of electricity in decarbonizing the chemical industry will directly affect the decarbonization of the power grid. They stress that to successfully implement these technologies, their operation must coordinate with the power grid in a mutually beneficial manner to avoid overburdening it. “If we’re going to be serious about decarbonizing the sector and relying on electricity for that, we have to be creative in how we use it,” says Mallapragada. “Otherwise we run the risk of having addressed one problem, while creating a massive problem for the grid in the process.”

    Electrified processes have the potential to be much more flexible than conventional fossil fuel-driven processes. This can reduce the cost of chemical production by allowing producers to shift electricity consumption to times when the cost of electricity is low. “Process flexibility is particularly impactful during stressed power grid conditions and can help better accommodate renewable generation resources, which are intermittent and are often poorly correlated with daily power grid cycles,” says Yury Dvorkin, an associate research professor at the Johns Hopkins Ralph O’Connor Sustainable Energy Institute. “It’s beneficial for potential adopters because it can help them avoid consuming electricity during high-price periods.”

    Dvorkin adds that some intermediate energy carriers, such as hydrogen, can potentially be used as highly efficient energy storage for day-to-day operations and as long-term energy storage. This would help support the power grid during extreme events when traditional and renewable generators may be unavailable. “The application of long-duration storage is of particular interest as this is a key enabler of a low-emissions society, yet not widespread beyond pumped hydro units,” he says. “However, as we envision electrified chemical manufacturing, it is important to ensure that the supplied electricity is sourced from low-emission generators to prevent emissions leakages from the chemical to power sector.”

    The next two pathways introduced — utilizing electrochemistry and plasma — are less technologically mature but have the potential to replace energy- and carbon-intensive thermochemical processes currently used in the industry. By adopting electrochemical processes or plasma-driven reactions instead, chemical transformations can occur at lower temperatures and pressures, potentially enhancing efficiency. “These reaction pathways also have the potential to enable more flexible, grid-responsive plants and the deployment of modular manufacturing plants that leverage distributed chemical feedstocks such as biomass waste — further enhancing sustainability in chemical manufacturing,” says Miguel Modestino, the director of the Sustainable Engineering Initiative at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering.

    A large barrier to deep decarbonization of chemical manufacturing relates to its complex, multi-product nature. But, according to the researchers, each of these electricity-driven pathways supports chemical industry decarbonization for various feedstock choices and end-of-life disposal decisions. Each should be evaluated in comprehensive techno-economic and environmental life cycle assessments to weigh trade-offs and establish suitable cost and performance metrics.

    Regardless of the pathway chosen, the researchers stress the need for active research and development and deployment of these technologies. They also emphasize the importance of workforce training and development running in parallel to technology development. As André Taylor, the director of DC-MUSE, explains, “There is a healthy skepticism in the industry regarding electrification and adoption of these technologies, as it involves processing chemicals in a new way.” The workforce at different levels of the industry hasn’t necessarily been exposed to ideas related to the grid, electrochemistry, or plasma. The researchers say that workforce training at all levels will help build greater confidence in these different solutions and support customer-driven industry adoption.

    “There’s no silver bullet, which is kind of the standard line with all climate change solutions,” says Mallapragada. “Each option has pros and cons, as well as unique advantages. But being aware of the portfolio of options in which you can use electricity allows us to have a better chance of success and of reducing emissions — and doing so in a way that supports grid decarbonization.”


    This work was supported, in part, by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    MIT Campus

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory , the MIT Bates Research and Engineering Center , and the Haystack Observatory , as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Whitehead Institute.

    Massachusettes Institute of Technology-Haystack Observatory Westford, Massachusetts, USA, Altitude 131 m (430 ft).


    The Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)

    From The Kavli Institute For Astrophysics and Space Research

    MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science is a research institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    The MIT Laboratory for Nuclear Science

    The MIT Media Lab

    The MIT School of Engineering

    The MIT Sloan School of Management


    Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, Massachusetts Institute of Technology adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength. It is frequently regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

    As of December 2020, 97 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshall Scholars, 3 Mitchell Scholars, 22 Schwarzman Scholars, 41 astronauts, and 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a member of the Association of American Universities.

    Foundation and vision

    In 1859, a proposal was submitted to the Massachusetts General Court to use newly filled lands in Back Bay, Boston for a “Conservatory of Art and Science”, but the proposal failed. A charter for the incorporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proposed by William Barton Rogers, was signed by John Albion Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, on April 10, 1861.

    Rogers, a professor from the University of Virginia , wanted to establish an institution to address rapid scientific and technological advances. He did not wish to found a professional school, but a combination with elements of both professional and liberal education, proposing that:

    “The true and only practicable object of a polytechnic school is, as I conceive, the teaching, not of the minute details and manipulations of the arts, which can be done only in the workshop, but the inculcation of those scientific principles which form the basis and explanation of them, and along with this, a full and methodical review of all their leading processes and operations in connection with physical laws.”

    The Rogers Plan reflected the German research university model, emphasizing an independent faculty engaged in research, as well as instruction oriented around seminars and laboratories.

    Early developments

    Two days after The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was chartered, the first battle of the Civil War broke out. After a long delay through the war years, MIT’s first classes were held in the Mercantile Building in Boston in 1865. The new institute was founded as part of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to fund institutions “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes” and was a land-grant school. In 1863 under the same act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts founded the Massachusetts Agricultural College, which developed as the University of Massachusetts Amherst ). In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was informally called “Boston Tech”. The institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. Despite chronic financial problems, the institute saw growth in the last two decades of the 19th century under President Francis Amasa Walker. Programs in electrical, chemical, marine, and sanitary engineering were introduced, new buildings were built, and the size of the student body increased to more than one thousand.

    The curriculum drifted to a vocational emphasis, with less focus on theoretical science. The fledgling school still suffered from chronic financial shortages which diverted the attention of the MIT leadership. During these “Boston Tech” years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University president (and former MIT faculty) Charles W. Eliot’s repeated attempts to merge MIT with Harvard College’s Lawrence Scientific School. There would be at least six attempts to absorb MIT into Harvard. In its cramped Back Bay location, MIT could not afford to expand its overcrowded facilities, driving a desperate search for a new campus and funding. Eventually, the MIT Corporation approved a formal agreement to merge with Harvard, over the vehement objections of MIT faculty, students, and alumni. However, a 1917 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively put an end to the merger scheme.

    In 1916, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology administration and the MIT charter crossed the Charles River on the ceremonial barge Bucentaur built for the occasion, to signify MIT’s move to a spacious new campus largely consisting of filled land on a one-mile-long (1.6 km) tract along the Cambridge side of the Charles River. The neoclassical “New Technology” campus was designed by William W. Bosworth and had been funded largely by anonymous donations from a mysterious “Mr. Smith”, starting in 1912. In January 1920, the donor was revealed to be the industrialist George Eastman of Rochester, New York, who had invented methods of film production and processing, and founded Eastman Kodak. Between 1912 and 1920, Eastman donated $20 million ($236.6 million in 2015 dollars) in cash and Kodak stock to MIT.

    Curricular reforms

    In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios. The Compton reforms “renewed confidence in the ability of the Institute to develop leadership in science as well as in engineering”. Unlike Ivy League schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology catered more to middle-class families, and depended more on tuition than on endowments or grants for its funding. The school was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934.

    Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology that “the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school”, a “partly unjustified” perception the committee sought to change. The report comprehensively reviewed the undergraduate curriculum, recommended offering a broader education, and warned against letting engineering and government-sponsored research detract from the sciences and humanities. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the MIT Sloan School of Management were formed in 1950 to compete with the powerful Schools of Science and Engineering. Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences continued to develop under the successive terms of the more humanistically oriented presidents Howard W. Johnson and Jerome Wiesner between 1966 and 1980.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology‘s involvement in military science surged during World War II. In 1941, Vannevar Bush was appointed head of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development and directed funding to only a select group of universities, including MIT. Engineers and scientists from across the country gathered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘s Radiation Laboratory, established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing microwave radar. The work done there significantly affected both the war and subsequent research in the area. Other defense projects included gyroscope-based and other complex control systems for gunsight, bombsight, and inertial navigation under Charles Stark Draper’s Instrumentation Laboratory; the development of a digital computer for flight simulations under Project Whirlwind; and high-speed and high-altitude photography under Harold Edgerton. By the end of the war, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology became the nation’s largest wartime R&D contractor (attracting some criticism of Bush), employing nearly 4000 in the Radiation Laboratory alone and receiving in excess of $100 million ($1.2 billion in 2015 dollars) before 1946. Work on defense projects continued even after then. Post-war government-sponsored research at MIT included SAGE and guidance systems for ballistic missiles and Project Apollo.

    These activities affected The Massachusetts Institute of Technology profoundly. A 1949 report noted the lack of “any great slackening in the pace of life at the Institute” to match the return to peacetime, remembering the “academic tranquility of the prewar years”, though acknowledging the significant contributions of military research to the increased emphasis on graduate education and rapid growth of personnel and facilities. The faculty doubled and the graduate student body quintupled during the terms of Karl Taylor Compton, president of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology between 1930 and 1948; James Rhyne Killian, president from 1948 to 1957; and Julius Adams Stratton, chancellor from 1952 to 1957, whose institution-building strategies shaped the expanding university. By the 1950s, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology no longer simply benefited the industries with which it had worked for three decades, and it had developed closer working relationships with new patrons, philanthropic foundations and the federal government.

    In late 1960s and early 1970s, student and faculty activists protested against the Vietnam War and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘s defense research. In this period Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s various departments were researching helicopters, smart bombs and counterinsurgency techniques for the war in Vietnam as well as guidance systems for nuclear missiles. The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded on March 4, 1969 during a meeting of faculty members and students seeking to shift the emphasis on military research toward environmental and social problems. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the MIT Lincoln Laboratory facility in 1973 in response to the protests. The student body, faculty, and administration remained comparatively unpolarized during what was a tumultuous time for many other universities. Johnson was seen to be highly successful in leading his institution to “greater strength and unity” after these times of turmoil. However, six Massachusetts Institute of Technology students were sentenced to prison terms at this time and some former student leaders, such as Michael Albert and George Katsiaficas, are still indignant about MIT’s role in military research and its suppression of these protests. (Richard Leacock’s film, November Actions, records some of these tumultuous events.)

    In the 1980s, there was more controversy at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology over its involvement in SDI (space weaponry) and CBW (chemical and biological warfare) research. More recently, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s research for the military has included work on robots, drones and ‘battle suits’.

    Recent history

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies, students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture. Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the MIT Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner to promote research into novel uses of computer technology; the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee; the MIT OpenCourseWare project has made course materials for over 2,000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology classes available online free of charge since 2002; and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was named a sea-grant college in 1976 to support its programs in oceanography and marine sciences and was named a space-grant college in 1989 to support its aeronautics and astronautics programs. Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus; the Tang Center for Management Education; several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research; and a number of new “backlot” buildings on Vassar Street including the Stata Center. Construction on campus in the 2000s included expansions of the Media Lab, the Sloan School’s eastern campus, and graduate residences in the northwest. In 2006, President Hockfield launched the MIT Energy Research Council to investigate the interdisciplinary challenges posed by increasing global energy consumption.

    In 2001, inspired by the open source and open access movements, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched “OpenCourseWare” to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed. While the cost of supporting and hosting the project is high, OCW expanded in 2005 to include other universities as a part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which currently includes more than 250 academic institutions with content available in at least six languages. In 2011, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced it would offer formal certification (but not credits or degrees) to online participants completing coursework in its “MITx” program, for a modest fee. The “edX” online platform supporting MITx was initially developed in partnership with Harvard and its analogous “Harvardx” initiative. The courseware platform is open source, and other universities have already joined and added their own course content. In March 2009 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has its own police force. Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013, MIT Police patrol officer Sean Collier was fatally shot by the suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, setting off a violent manhunt that shut down the campus and much of the Boston metropolitan area for a day. One week later, Collier’s memorial service was attended by more than 10,000 people, in a ceremony hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada. On November 25, 2013, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced the creation of the Collier Medal, to be awarded annually to “an individual or group that embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community and in all aspects of his life”. The announcement further stated that “Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness”.

    In September 2017, the school announced the creation of an artificial intelligence research lab called the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. IBM will spend $240 million over the next decade, and the lab will be staffed by MIT and IBM scientists. In October 2018 MIT announced that it would open a new Schwarzman College of Computing dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, named after lead donor and The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman. The focus of the new college is to study not just AI, but interdisciplinary AI education, and how AI can be used in fields as diverse as history and biology. The cost of buildings and new faculty for the new college is expected to be $1 billion upon completion.

    The Caltech/MIT Advanced aLIGO was designed and constructed by a team of scientists from California Institute of Technology , Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and industrial contractors, and funded by the National Science Foundation .

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

    It was designed to open the field of gravitational-wave astronomy through the detection of gravitational waves predicted by general relativity. Gravitational waves were detected for the first time by the LIGO detector in 2015. For contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves, two Caltech physicists, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Rainer Weiss won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2017. Weiss, who is also a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, designed the laser interferometric technique, which served as the essential blueprint for the LIGO.

    The mission of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

  • richardmitnick 1:20 pm on February 1, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Biorefinery uses microbial fuel cell to upcycle resistant plant waste", "MEC": microbial electrolysis cell, , , Chemistry, , Organic waste turns into antioxidant flavonoids for nutrition and medicine., The Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering   

    From The Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering At Northwestern University : “Biorefinery uses microbial fuel cell to upcycle resistant plant waste” 

    From From The Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering


    Northwestern U bloc

    Northwestern University

    Amanda Morris

    Organic waste turns into antioxidant flavonoids for nutrition and medicine.

    Paper mills (like the one shown here) are one of the biggest generators of waste lignin, a fibrous material that gives plants their structure.

    When nature designed lignin — the fibrous, woody material that gives plants their rigid structure — it didn’t cut any corners. Incredibly slow to break down, lignin is so sturdy and long lasting that it is resistant to bacteria and rot.

    So, what happens to all the lignin waste from farmlands, breweries and paper mills? Most of it is burned or buried, generating pollution and wasting a potential renewable resource.

    Now, Northwestern University researchers have developed a sustainable, inexpensive two-step process that can upcycle organic carbon waste — including lignin. By processing waste through a microbe-driven biorefinery, the researchers turned lignin into carbon sources that could be used in high-value, plant-derived pharmaceuticals and antioxidant nutraceuticals as well as carbon-based nanoparticles for drug or chemical delivery.

    The study was featured on the cover of the January issue of the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering.

    “Lignin should have tremendous value, but it’s intrinsically regarded as waste,” said Northwestern’s Kimberly Gray, who led the research. “Lignin makes up 20-30% of biomass but 40% of the energy, which is a lot, but it’s difficult to tap this energy source. Nature made lignin so recalcitrant to processing that people haven’t figured out how to use it. Researchers have been trying to solve this problem for decades. Using an oil refinery as a template, we developed a biorefinery that takes in waste streams and produces high-value products.”

    Gray is the Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Family Chair in Civil and Environmental Engineering and professor of civil and environmental engineering in Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering.

    Nature’s building material

    One of the most abundant organic polymers in the world, lignin is present in all vascular plants. Found between cell walls, lignin gives strong, sturdy plants — like trees —structural support. Without lignin, wood and bark would be too weak to support trees. And wooden houses and furniture would simply collapse.

    But most industries that use plants — such as the paper manufacturing and brewing industries — strip out lignin, leaving behind cellulose, a type of sugar. Instead of making use of nature’s ultra-resistant material, industrial teams burn lignin as a cheap fuel.

    “Humans want to get rid of lignin to reach the sugars,” Gray said. “They ferment cellulose to make alcohol or process it to make pulp. Then what do they do with the lignin? They burn it as a low-quality fuel. It’s a waste.”

    Bacteria-powered fuel cell

    To develop a biorefinery for breaking down carbon waste, including lignin, the researchers first engineered a microbial electrolysis cell (MEC). Similar to a fuel cell, the MEC exchanges energy between an anode and a cathode. But instead of a metal-based anode, Northwestern’s bio-anode comprises exoelectrogens — a type of bacteria that naturally generate electrical energy by eating organic matter.

    “The microbes act as the catalyst,” said study co-author George Wells, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at McCormick. “Instead of using chemical catalysts, which are often very expensive and require high temperatures, we’re using biology as the catalyst.”

    The beauty of the MEC is that it can process any type of organic waste — human, agricultural or industrial. The MEC cycles waste-filled water through the bacteria, which eat up the carbon. Here, they degrade the organic carbon into carbon dioxide and then naturally respire electrons. During this process, extracted electrons flow from the bio-anode to the cathode (made of a carbon cloth), where they reduce oxygen to generate water. The process consumes protons, driving up the water’s pH to turn it into a caustic solution. From there, the caustic solution could be used for any number of applications, including wastewater treatment.

    “Another benefit of this process is that it effectively treats wastewater to remove detrimental organic carbon,” Wells said. “So, a key product is clean water.”

    But the researchers took the caustic substance and turned their attention back to the lignin. Lignin compounds are durable because they contain complex chains of aromatic carbon, which have a special bonding pattern that forms a ring of six carbon atoms. Each aromatic ring comprises alternating double and single bonds, which are incredibly difficult to break apart.

    Busting ‘unbreakable’ bonds

    When the researchers exposed lignin to the bio-based caustic chemical, however, lignin’s polymers broke apart in a way that preserved the aromatic rings. About 17% of the processed lignin turned into rings of carbon called flavonoids, an antioxidant-rich phytonutrient often found in supplements. Commonly used in medicinal chemistry, these rings could be used as plant-derived, sustainable precursors to inexpensive pharmaceuticals and supplements.

    “It breaks apart the polymer bonds but selectively leaves the ring,” Gray said. “If you can preserve that ring, then you can make high-value materials. Chemists have developed catalysts that break apart the whole compound, and then they have to rebuild the ring. But we were able to break it selectively to preserve the valuable structures.”

    The rest of the processed lignin (about 80%) became carbon-based nanoparticles, which could be used to encompass substances for targeted drug delivery in humans or targeted nutrient delivery in plants. The nanoparticles also could offer a sustainable, plant-derived alternative for sunscreens and cosmetics.

    “It’s exciting to identify and explore a route for sustainable resource recovery from multiple waste streams,” Wells said. “We have massive wastewater and lignin streams that are expensive to treat on their own. We’re trying to reimagine those as sources of value.”

    Recovering resources without hazardous chemicals

    Although researchers could have used a commercially available caustic substance to process lignin, their MEC-based approach has many advantages. First, the green bio-based chemical just works better. Second, it’s safer, less expensive, can be used in ambient conditions and can generate chemicals at the point of need.

    “There are many caustic substances, such as sodium hydroxide, which is commonly used in many industrial processes and wastewater treatment,” Wells said. “But that involves shipping and storing large amounts of toxic chemicals. Not only is that expensive, it also is hazardous for public health. It’s much safer and more sustainable to generate chemicals on site from waste products. We avoid having to ship or store large quantities of hazardous chemicals and are not reliant on supply chains or trucks arriving on time. It gives us flexibility and adaptability to generate chemicals right on site when they are needed.”

    The study was supported by the Finite Earth Initiative of the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University.

    ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Northwestern South Campus
    South Campus

    Northwestern is recognized nationally and internationally for its educational programs.

    On May 31, 1850, nine men gathered to begin planning a university that would serve the Northwest Territory.

    Given that they had little money, no land and limited higher education experience, their vision was ambitious. But through a combination of creative financing, shrewd politicking, religious inspiration and an abundance of hard work, the founders of Northwestern University were able to make that dream a reality.

    In 1853, the founders purchased a 379-acre tract of land on the shore of Lake Michigan 12 miles north of Chicago. They established a campus and developed the land near it, naming the surrounding town Evanston in honor of one of the University’s founders, John Evans. After completing its first building in 1855, Northwestern began classes that fall with two faculty members and 10 students.
    Twenty-one presidents have presided over Northwestern in the years since. The University has grown to include 12 schools and colleges, with additional campuses in Chicago and Doha, Qatar.

    Established in 1909, the From Robert R.McCormick School of Engineering is one of twelve constituent schools at Northwestern University. Most engineering classes are held in the Technological Institute (1942), which students commonly refer to as “Tech.” In October 2005, another building affiliated with the School, the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center, opened.

    The trustees of Northwestern University founded a College of Technology in June 1873, but in his report for 1876-77, President Oliver Marcy announced that the new college had failed for lack of financial resources to develop the faculty and facilities.

    In 1891, President Henry Wade Rogers called for the founding of a new Engineering School, stating that universities in general were “not performing the work necessary to prepare men for the various activities of modern life, so different from the life their fathers lived half a century ago.” This was realized in 1909, when the new College of Engineering was opened in Swift Hall. Operationally, the Engineering School until the mid-1920s was a department of the College of Liberal Arts. The major emphasis was on a broad general education with a particular stress on mathematics and science. In 1937, the Engineering School ran into difficulties with the American Engineers’ Council for Professional Development, which denied the School accreditation. In response, a four-year curriculum satisfying the ECPD was put into place.

    In 1939, Walter Patton Murphy (1873–1942), a wealthy inventor of railroad equipment, donated $6.735 million to the School of Engineering.[1] Murphy meant for the Institute to offer a “cooperative” education, whereby academic courses and practical application in industrial settings were closely integrated. In 1942, Northwestern received an additional bequest of $28 million from Murphy’s estate to provide for an engineering school “second to none.” A cooperative education program was designed in the late 1930s by Charles F. Kettering, former research head of General Motors, and Herman Schneider, dean of the engineering school at the University of Cincinnati. The program required undergraduates to work outside the classroom in technical positions for several terms over the course of their college years.

  • richardmitnick 4:56 pm on January 31, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Green hydrogen produced with near 100% efficiency using seawater", , Chemistry, , , , , Electrolysis requires catalysts and uses electricity. So the process itself requires energy., Freshwater is the main source of green hydrogen. But freshwater is increasingly scarce., , Splitting seawater to produce hydrogen may be a scientific miracle that puts us on a path to replacing fossil fuels with the environmentally-friendly alternative.,   

    From The University of Adelaide (AU) Via “COSMOS (AU)” : “Green hydrogen produced with near 100% efficiency using seawater” 


    From The University of Adelaide (AU)


    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    “COSMOS (AU)”

    Evrim Yazgin

    Credit: Abstract Aerial Art / DigitalVision / Getty.

    It’s not quite splitting the Red Sea, but new research into splitting seawater to produce hydrogen may be a scientific miracle that puts us on a path to replacing fossil fuels with the environmentally-friendly alternative.

    “We have split natural seawater into oxygen and hydrogen with nearly 100 percent efficiency, to produce green hydrogen by electrolysis, using a non-precious and cheap catalyst in a commercial electrolyzer,” says project leader Professor Shi-Zhang Qiao from the University of Adelaide’s School of Chemical Engineering.

    Electrolysis is the process of splitting water (H2O) into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity. So, the process itself requires energy.

    The process also requires catalysts. But not all catalysts are created equal. Catalysts used in electrolysis tend to be rare precious metals like iridium, ruthenium and platinum.

    Typical non-precious catalysts are transition metal oxide catalysts, for example cobalt oxide coated with chromium oxide.

    The new breakthrough in splitting seawater to produce green energy was achieved by adding a layer of Lewis acid (a specific type of acid, for example chromium(III) oxide, Cr2O3) on top of the transition metal oxide catalyst.

    While using cheaper materials, the process is shown to be very effective.

    “The performance of a commercial electrolyzer with our catalysts running in seawater is close to the performance of platinum/iridium catalysts running in a feedstock of highly purified deionized water,” explains the University of Adelaide’s Associate Professor Yao Zheng.

    Another typical part of the electrolysis process is some form of treatment of the water. For that reason, freshwater is the main source of green hydrogen. But freshwater is increasingly scarce.

    So, scientists are looking to seawater, particularly in regions with long coastlines and abundant sunlight.

    “We used seawater as a feedstock without the need for any pre-treatment processes like reverse osmosis desolation, purification, or alkalisation,” Zheng adds. “Current electrolyzers are operated with highly purified water electrolyte. Increased demand for hydrogen to partially or totally replace energy generated by fossil fuels will significantly increase scarcity of increasingly limited freshwater resources.”

    Seawater electrolysis is relatively new compared to pure water electrolysis. Complications include side reactions on the electrodes, as well as corrosion.

    “It is always necessary to treat impure water to a level of water purity for conventional electrolyzers including desalination and deionization, which increases the operation and maintenance cost of the processes,” Zheng says. “Our work provides a solution to directly utilize seawater without pre-treatment systems and alkali addition, which shows similar performance as that of existing metal-based mature pure water electrolyzer.”

    The team hopes to scale their experiment up for commercial production in generating hydrogen fuel cells and ammonia synthesis.

    Their research is published in Nature Energy.

    See the full article here.

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    The University of Adelaide is a public research university located in Adelaide, South Australia. Established in 1874, it is the third-oldest university in Australia. The university’s main campus is located on North Terrace in the Adelaide city centre, adjacent to the Art Gallery of South Australia, the South Australian Museum and the State Library of South Australia.

    The university has four campuses, three in South Australia: North Terrace campus in the city, Roseworthy campus at Roseworthy and Waite campus at Urrbrae, and one in Melbourne, Victoria. The university also operates out of other areas such as Thebarton, the National Wine Centre in the Adelaide Park Lands, and in Singapore through the Ngee Ann-Adelaide Education Centre.

    The University of Adelaide is composed of five faculties, with each containing constituent schools. These include the Faculty of Engineering, Computer, and Mathematical Sciences (ECMS), the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of the Professions, and the Faculty of Sciences. It is a member of The Group of Eight and The Association of Commonwealth Universities. The university is also a member of the Sandstone universities, which mostly consist of colonial-era universities within Australia.

    The university is associated with five Nobel laureates, constituting one-third of Australia’s total Nobel Laureates, and 110 Rhodes scholars. The university has had a considerable impact on the public life of South Australia, having educated many of the state’s leading business people, lawyers, medical professionals and politicians. The university has been associated with many notable achievements and discoveries, such as the discovery and development of penicillin, the development of space exploration, sunscreen, the military tank, Wi-Fi, polymer banknotes and X-ray crystallography, and the study of viticulture and oenology.


    The University of Adelaide is one of the most research-intensive universities in Australia, securing over $180 million in research funding annually. Its researchers are active in both basic and commercially oriented research across a broad range of fields including agriculture, psychology, health sciences, and engineering.

    Research strengths include engineering, mathematics, science, medical and health sciences, agricultural sciences, artificial intelligence, and the arts.

    The university is a member of Academic Consortium 21, an association of 20 research intensive universities, mainly in Oceania, though with members from the US and Europe. The university held the Presidency of AC 21 for the period 2011–2013 as host the biennial AC21 International Forum in June 2012.

    The Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR), based at the University of Adelaide, was founded in 1973 as the Road Accident Research Unit and focuses on road safety and injury control.

  • richardmitnick 12:19 pm on January 28, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Meteorites reveal likely origin of Earth’s volatile chemicals", "Volatiles" are elements or compounds that change from solid or liquid state into vapour at relatively low temperatures., , , , , Chemistry, , , Prior to this finding researchers thought that most of Earth’s volatiles came from asteroids that formed closer to the Earth.   

    From Imperial College London (UK) : “Meteorites reveal likely origin of Earth’s volatile chemicals” 

    From Imperial College London (UK)

    Caroline Brogan

    Zn isotope anomalies for each meteorite group and the BSE, in ε i Zn notation. Data are plotted for different groups of meteorites and the BSE, see the legend. Carbonaceous chondrites (CI, CM, CV, CO chondrites) and non-carbonaceous group meteorites [ECs, including two EHs (high iron), OCs, including H (high iron), L (low iron), and LL (low iron, low metal) chondrites, and IAB complex irons] have complimentary patterns with CCs enriched in 68 Zn and 70 Zn and depleted in 64 Zn. relative to the BSE which has εi Zn = 0. NCs have the opposite pattern, with depletions in 68 Zn and 70 Zn and enrichments in 64 Zn. There is no data for ε 66 Zn and ε 67 Zn because these isotopes are used for internal normalization. The meteorite and BSE data are listed in Table S2; error bars indicate ±2se. Credit: Imperial College London.

    Meteorites have told Imperial researchers the likely far-flung origin of Earth’s volatile chemicals, some of which form the building blocks of life.

    They found that around half the Earth’s inventory of the volatile element zinc came from asteroids originating in the outer Solar System – the part beyond the asteroid belt that includes the planets Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus. This material is also expected to have supplied other important volatiles such as water.

    “Volatiles” are elements or compounds that change from solid or liquid state into vapour at relatively low temperatures. They include the six most common elements found in living organisms, as well as water. As such, the addition of this material will have been important for the emergence of life on Earth.

    Prior to this finding researchers thought that most of Earth’s volatiles came from asteroids that formed closer to the Earth. The findings reveal important clues about how Earth came to harbour the special conditions needed to sustain life.

    Senior author Professor Mark Rehkämper, of Imperial College London’s Department of Earth Science and Engineering, said: “Our data show that about half of Earth’s zinc inventory was delivered by material from the outer Solar System, beyond the orbit of Jupiter. Based on current models of early Solar System development, this was completely unexpected.”

    Previous research suggested that the Earth formed almost exclusively from inner Solar System material, which researchers inferred was the predominant source of Earth’s volatile chemicals. In contrast, the new findings suggest the outer Solar System played a bigger role than previously thought.

    Professor Rehkämper added: “This contribution of outer Solar System material played a vital role in establishing the Earth’s inventory of volatile chemicals. It looks as though without the contribution of outer Solar System material, the Earth would have a much lower amount of volatiles than we know it today – making it drier and potentially unable to nourish and sustain life.”

    The findings are published in Science [below].

    To carry out the study, the researchers examined 18 meteorites of varying origins – eleven from the inner Solar System, known as non-carbonaceous meteorites, and seven from the outer Solar System, known as carbonaceous meteorites.

    For each meteorite they measured the relative abundances of the five different forms – or isotopes – of zinc. They then compared each isotopic fingerprint with Earth samples to estimate how much each of these materials contributed to the Earth’s zinc inventory. The results suggest that while the Earth only incorporated about ten per cent of its mass from carbonaceous bodies, this material supplied about half of Earth’s zinc.

    The researchers say that material with a high concentration of zinc and other volatile constituents is also likely to be relatively abundant in water, giving clues about the origin of Earth’s water.

    First author on the paper Rayssa Martins, PhD candidate at the Department of Earth Science and Engineering, said: “We’ve long known that some carbonaceous material was added to the Earth, but our findings suggest that this material played a key role in establishing our budget of volatile elements, some of which are essential for life to flourish.”

    Next the researchers will analyze rocks from Mars, which harboured water 4.1 to 3 billion years ago before drying up, and the Moon. Professor Rehkämper said: “The widely held theory is that the Moon formed when a huge asteroid smashed into an embryonic Earth about 4.5 billion years ago. Analyzing zinc isotopes in moon rocks will help us to test this hypothesis and determine whether the colliding asteroid played an important part in delivering volatiles, including water, to the Earth.”

    This work was funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC – part of UKRI) and Rayssa Martins is funded by an Imperial College London Presidents’ PhD Scholarship.


    See the full article here.

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Imperial College London (UK) is a science-based university with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Consistently rated amongst the world’s best universities, Imperial is committed to developing the next generation of researchers, scientists and academics through collaboration across disciplines. Located in the heart of London, Imperial is a multidisciplinary space for education, research, translation and commercialization, harnessing science and innovation to tackle global challenges.

    Imperial College London (legally Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine) is a public research university in London. Imperial grew out of Prince Albert’s vision of an area for culture, including the Royal Albert Hall; Imperial Institute; numerous museums and the Royal Colleges that would go on to form the college. In 1907, Imperial College was established by Royal Charter, merging the Royal College of Science; Royal School of Mines; and City and Guilds College. In 1988, the Imperial College School of Medicine was formed by combining with St Mary’s Hospital Medical School. In 2004, Queen Elizabeth II opened the Imperial College Business School.

    The college focuses exclusively on science; technology; medicine; and business. The college’s main campus is located in South Kensington, and it has an innovation campus in White City; a research field station at Silwood Park; and teaching hospitals throughout London. The college was a member of the University of London(UK) from 1908, becoming independent on its centenary in 2007. Imperial has an international community, with more than 59% of students from outside the UK and 140 countries represented on campus. Student, staff, and researcher affiliations include 14 Nobel laureates; 3 Fields Medalists; 2 Breakthrough Prize winners; 1 Turing Award winner; 74 Fellows of the Royal Society; 87 Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering; and 85 Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences.


    19th century

    The earliest college that led to the formation of Imperial was the Royal College of Chemistry founded in 1845 with the support of Prince Albert and parliament. This was merged in 1853 into what became known as the Royal School of Mines. The medical school has roots in many different schools across London, the oldest of which being Charing Cross Hospital Medical School which can be traced back to 1823 followed by teaching starting at Westminster Hospital in 1834 and St Mary’s Hospital in 1851.

    In 1851 the Great Exhibition was organized as an exhibition of culture and industry by Henry Cole and by Prince Albert- husband of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom Queen Victoria. An enormously popular and financial success proceeds from the Great Exhibition were designated to develop an area for cultural and scientific advancement in South Kensington. Within the next 6 years the Victoria and Albert Museum and Science Museum had opened joined by new facilities in 1871 for the Royal College of Chemistry and in 1881 for the Royal School of Mines; the opening of the Natural History Museum in 1881; and in 1888 the Imperial Institute.

    In 1881 the Normal School of Science was established in South Kensington under the leadership of Thomas Huxley taking over responsibility for the teaching of the natural sciences and agriculture from the Royal School of Mines. The school was renamed the Royal College of Science by royal consent in 1890. The Central Institution of the City and Guilds of London Institute was opened as a technical education school on Exhibition Road by the Prince of Wales in early 1885.

    20th century

    At the start of the 20th century, there was a concern that Britain was falling behind Germany in scientific and technical education. A departmental committee was set up at the Board of Education in 1904, to look into the future of the Royal College of Science. A report released in 1906 called for the establishment of an institution unifying the Royal College of Science and the Royal School of Mines, as well as – if an agreement could be reached with the City and Guilds of London Institute – their Central Technical College.

    On 8 July 1907 King Edward VII granted a Royal Charter establishing the Imperial College of Science and Technology. This incorporated the Royal School of Mines and the Royal College of Science. It also made provisions for the City and Guilds College to join once conditions regarding its governance were met as well as for Imperial to become a college of The University of London. The college joined the University of London on 22 July 1908 with the City and Guilds College joining in 1910. The main campus of Imperial College was constructed beside the buildings of the Imperial Institute- the new building for the Royal College of Science having opened across from it in 1906 and the foundation stone for the Royal School of Mines building being laid by King Edward VII in July 1909.

    As students at Imperial had to study separately for London degrees in January 1919 students and alumni voted for a petition to make Imperial a university with its own degree awarding powers independent of the University of London. In response the University of London changed its regulations in 1925 so that the courses taught only at Imperial would be examined by the university enabling students to gain a BSc.

    In October 1945 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Imperial to commemorate the centenary of the Royal College of Chemistry which was the oldest of the institutions that united to form Imperial College. “Commemoration Day” named after this visit is held every October as the university’s main graduation ceremony. The college also acquired a biology field station at Silwood Park near Ascot, Berkshire in 1947.

    Following the Second World War, there was again concern that Britain was falling behind in science – this time to the United States. The Percy Report of 1945 and Barlow Committee in 1946 called for a “British MIT”-equivalent backed by influential scientists as politicians of the time including Lord Cherwell; Sir Lawrence Bragg; and Sir Edward Appleton. The University Grants Committee strongly opposed however. So, a compromise was reached in 1953 where Imperial would remain within the university but double in size over the next ten years. The expansion led to a number of new buildings being erected. These included the Hill building in 1957 and the Physics building in 1960 and the completion of the East Quadrangle built in four stages between 1959 and 1965. The building work also meant the demolition of the City and Guilds College building in 1962–63 and the Imperial Institute’s building by 1967. Opposition from the Royal Fine Arts Commission and others meant that Queen’s Tower was retained with work carried out between 1966 and 1968 to make it free standing. New laboratories for biochemistry established with the support of a £350,000 grant from the Wolfson Foundation were opened by the Queen in 1965.

    In 1988 Imperial merged with St Mary’s Hospital Medical School under the Imperial College Act 1988. Amendments to the royal charter changed the formal name of the institution to The Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine and made St Mary’s a constituent college. This was followed by mergers with the National Heart and Lung Institute in 1995 and the Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School; Royal Postgraduate Medical School; and the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1997 with the Imperial College Act 1997 formally establishing the Imperial College School of Medicine.

    21st century

    In 2003, Imperial was granted degree-awarding powers in its own right by the Privy Council. In 2004, the Imperial College Business School and a new main entrance on Exhibition Road were opened by Queen Elizabeth II. The UK Energy Research Centre was also established in 2004 and opened its headquarters at Imperial. On 9 December 2005, Imperial announced that it would commence negotiations to secede from the University of London. Imperial became fully independent of the University of London in July 2007.

    In April 2011 Imperial and King’s College London joined the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation as partners with a commitment of £40 million each to the project. The centre was later renamed The Francis Crick Institute (UK) and opened on 9 November 2016. It is the largest single biomedical laboratory in Europe. The college began moving into the new White City campus in 2016 with the launching of the Innovation Hub. This was followed by the opening of the Molecular Sciences Research Hub for the Department of Chemistry officially opened by Mayor of London- Sadiq Khan in 2019. The White City campus also includes another biomedical centre funded by a £40 million donation by alumnus Sir Michael Uren.


    Imperial submitted a total of 1,257 staff across 14 units of assessment to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment. This found that 91% of Imperial’s research is “world-leading” (46% achieved the highest possible 4* score) or “internationally excellent” (44% achieved 3*) giving an overall GPA of 3.36. In rankings produced by Times Higher Education based upon the REF results Imperial was ranked 2nd overall. Imperial is also widely known to have been a critical contributor of the discovery of penicillin; the invention of fiber optics; and the development of holography. The college promotes research commercialization partly through its dedicated technology transfer company- Imperial Innovations- which has given rise to a large number of spin-out companies based on academic research. Imperial College has a long-term partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that dates back from World War II. The United States is the college’s top collaborating foreign country with more than 15,000 articles co-authored by Imperial and U.S.-based authors over the last 10 years.

    In January 2018 the mathematics department of Imperial and the CNRS-The National Center for Scientific Research[Centre national de la recherche scientifique](FR) launched UMI Abraham de Moivre at Imperial- a joint research laboratory of mathematics focused on unsolved problems and bridging British and French scientific communities. The Fields medallists Cédric Villani and Martin Hairer hosted the launch presentation. The CNRS-Imperial partnership started a joint PhD program in mathematics and further expanded in June 2020 to include other departments. In October 2018, Imperial College launched the Imperial Cancer Research UK Center- a research collaboration that aims to find innovative ways to improve the precision of cancer treatments inaugurated by former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden as part of his Biden Cancer Initiative.

    Imperial was one of the ten leading contributors to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration InSight Mars lander which landed on planet Mars in November 2018, with the college logo appearing on the craft. InSight’s Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, developed at Imperial, measured the first likely marsquake reading in April 2019. In 2019 it was revealed that the Blackett Laboratory would be constructing an instrument for the European Space (EU) Solar Orbiter in a mission to study the Sun, which launched in February 2020. The laboratory is also designing part of the DUNE/LBNF Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment.

    In early 2020 immunology research at the Faculty of Medicine focused on SARS-CoV-2 under the leadership of Professor Robin Shattock as part of the college’s COVID-19 Response Team including the search of a cheap vaccine which started human trials on 15 June 2020. Professor Neil Ferguson’s 16 March report entitled Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID- 19 mortality and healthcare demand was described in a 17 March The New York Times article as the coronavirus “report that jarred the U.S. and the U.K. to action”. Since 18 May 2020 Imperial College’s Dr. Samir Bhatt has been advising the state of New York for its reopening plan. Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo said that “the Imperial College model- as we’ve been following this for weeks- was the best most accurate model.” The hospitals from the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust which have been caring for COVID-19 infected patients partnered with Microsoft to use their HoloLens when treating those patients reducing the amount of time spent by staff in high-risk areas by up to 83% as well as saving up to 700 items of PPE per ward, per week.

  • richardmitnick 1:11 pm on January 27, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Picture This - The Periodic Table", , Chemistry, Pioneer Works   

    From Pioneer Works: “Picture This – The Periodic Table” 

    From Pioneer Works

    12.13.22 [Just today in social media.]

    Philip Ball on the visual ordering of all the elements known to humankind—and how we might order them differently.

    Philip Ball

    “It looms over every chemistry classroom and lecture theatre, two towers bookending serried ranks of compartments rather like the British Houses of Parliament—and with at least as much authority. The Periodic Table is chemistry’s icon, a codification of the entire chemical universe expressing the relationships between the elements from which all ordinary matter is constituted. There are just 92 or so of these natural elements (occasional oddities like technetium, element 43, barely exist in nature because they are so unstable), but scientists have now appended to the roster a gaggle of extra ones, from neptunium (element 93) to oganesson (118), that are wrought artificially in nuclear reactions, the most massive of them living for just an instant before decaying.

    I must once have known the Periodic Table by heart. It’s too long ago for me to be sure, but I have to surmise as much because chemistry students at Oxford University weren’t given the table for their exams. In a gesture of characteristically perverse exceptionalism, we were expected to memorize it. But don’t ask me now where to locate rhenium or iridium: all those obscure transition metals in the long central block of the table are a blur. If, however, you do know where an element goes—if you can assign it to the right row and column of the table—you can deduce a lot about it. You can figure out how the electrons in its atoms are arranged into shells, and make good guesses about the types of compounds it forms, its melting and boiling points and its propensity to react with other elements. In my finals, I wrote an entire essay about niobium—niobium!—on that basis. Goodness knows what it said.”

    A variation of the standard periodic table, as of 1975, by James Franklin Hyde.Reproduced by Jeremy Sachs with permission from George and Sylvia Schuster.

    The Periodic Table was conceived as a scheme for bringing order to the elements. When there were deemed to be only four of these—the earth, air, fire, and water of the Greek philosopher Empedocles (it was just one of the elemental systems proposed in ancient times, but enjoyed the weighty advocacy of Plato and Aristotle)—things seemed simple enough. But during the Renaissance, natural philosophers were increasingly forced to accept that the metals then known—copper, iron, lead, tin, mercury, silver and gold—were not as interconvertible as the alchemists believed, but seemed to have an elemental primacy about them, too. More and more of these became recognized—zinc, bismuth, cobalt, and others—along with other new elements such as sulfur, phosphorus, carbon, and, in the late eighteenth century, gaseous elements like nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen. When the French chemist Antoine Lavoisier (who named those latter two) drew up a list of known elements for his seminal textbook Traité élémentaire de chemie in 1789, he counted 33—including light and heat, which he called caloric.

    The list didn’t seem to be arbitrary though. In the early nineteenth century, several scientists noted that some elements seemed to come in families, resembling one another in the kinds of reactions they engaged in and the compounds they formed. Some claimed to see triads: the halogens chlorine, bromine and iodine for example, or the reactive metals sodium, potassium (both discovered by English chemist Humphry Davy in 1807) and lithium (identified in 1817). Was there a hidden pattern to the elements?

    The Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev, working at Saint Petersburg University, is usually credited with discovering that pattern. A Siberian by birth, with Rasputin-like dishevelled hair and an irascible manner, he published his first Periodic Table in 1869. It is “periodic” because, if you list the elements in order of their mass, certain chemical properties seem to recur periodically along the list. The table is produced by folding that linear list so that elements with shared properties sit in vertical columns (although Mendeleev’s first table had them instead in rows, effectively turning today’s table on its side).

    Mendeleev’s insight wasn’t unique; by then the existence of a periodic structure that organized the known elements was clear to others too. In particular, the German chemist Julius Lothar Meyer drew up a table almost identical to Mendeleev’s in 1868, but he didn’t get it published until later—and so missed out on the accolades, to his immense chagrin. Mendeleev, however, had the foresight to see that his table only worked if he left some slots empty: elements presumably yet to be discovered. When some of these were found soon after and had just the properties he predicted, he was vindicated.

    Even now, there’s no consensus about how to draw the Periodic Table.

    Still, it’s a weird kind of periodicity. At first, chemical properties seemed to recur every eight elements. But in the row that starts with potassium, there’s an interlude of ten metals—the transition metals—and so it continues thereafter, creating a periodicity of 18. And after lanthanum (element 57), chemists discovered a whole series of 14 metallic elements with almost identical properties that have to be squeezed in too—frankly, these elements, called the lanthanides after the first of their ilk, all seem a bit redundant. There’s another block like this after radioactive actinium (element 89), called the actinides. In most Periodic Tables, the lanthanide and actinide blocks are left floating freely underneath so the table doesn’t get stretched beyond the confines of the page. (Some insist that this long-form table is the only proper one.) Why this odd structure?

    The answer became clear with the invention of quantum mechanics in the early twentieth century. The chemical properties of elements are mostly determined by how the electrons in their atoms are arranged. New Zealander Ernest Rutherford showed that atoms comprise a central, very dense nucleus with a positive electrical charge, surrounded by enough negatively charged electrons to perfectly balance that charge. Rutherford imagined the electrons orbiting the nucleus like moons, but in the quantum-mechanical description they occupy nebulous, smeared-out clouds called orbitals. Using quantum mechanics to describe the disposition of electrons shows that they are arrayed in shells. The first of these can contain just two electrons—this is the only shell possessed by hydrogen and helium, the two lone elements at the tops of the towers—while the next has eight, and then 18. The shape of the periodic table thus encodes the character of the quantum atom.

    Spiral format of a table.Jan Scholten via Wikimedia Commons

    All clear? Not quite. Even now, there’s no consensus about how to draw the Periodic Table. Hydrogen, the first and lightest element, has always been awkward: it tends to get plonked on top of the first column (the alkali metals), but it doesn’t really fit there—it’s not a metal, after all. Some prefer to see it float freely above the rest, a hydrogen balloon over the edifice of elements. And representing the rather awkward nuances of the quantum shell structure in a two-dimensional diagram involves compromises, which have prompted the invention of all manner of ingenious alternatives to the traditional block format: spiral and circular tables, loops and stadium shapes, tiered ziggurats, three-dimensional models, dizzyingly imaginative cartographies of elements. None has caught on.

    Some of the fiercest arguments involve the lanthanides and actinides, which begin in the third column of the Table. Which elements truly belong in those two slots? Older tables put lanthanum (symbol La) and actinium (Ac) there, with the rest of the series relegated to those disconnected basement blocks. Others instead assign those two positions to the last of the lanthanides and actinides: lutetium (Lu) and lawrencium (Lr). Some leave the position undefined, labeled only ‘La–Lu’ and ‘Ac–Lr.’ The problem is that the arguments for one choice are chemical—which elements are chemically most similar to scandium and yttrium higher up in column three?—while the other option is preferred quantum-mechanically, based on how the electrons are configured. In some ways this is a dispute about authority. Which has the final say on the periodic table: chemistry or physics?

    Put that way, you can see the potential for acrimony. I was for a time a member of a group tasked by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry—the authority on chemical nomenclature and systematization—to make recommendations that might resolve the matter. But the group couldn’t agree, and so the argument continues. Or to give it a more positive spin: you’re free to choose the Periodic Table you like best. ♦

    See the full article here.

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Pioneer Works (PW) is an artist and scientist-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit cultural center in Red Hook, Brooklyn that fosters innovative thinking through the visual and performing arts, technology, music, and science.

    We provide visual and performing artists, musicians, scientists, technologists, community organizers, and educators the resources and platform they need to expand their practices. Pioneer Works has three floors of interconnected studio, performance, exhibition, and multipurpose spaces, which cultivate collaborations past the boundaries of traditional institutions by placing makers and thinkers in proximity to each other. We support onsite production through our science, design, recording, and ceramics studios; media, virtual environment, and technology labs; darkroom; and garden. Multi-disciplinary programs, exhibitions, residencies, and performances are presented to the public, of which the majority are free.

    We encourage lifelong learning through community-based workshops, continuing education classes, and K-12 STEAM programs. We extend beyond our walls with our virtual publication, Pioneer Works Broadcast.

    Our approach encourages experimentation and empowers curious minds across diverse communities, knowledge bases, and frames of reference; in so doing, Pioneer Works aims to accelerate culture through the free exchange of ideas and information for all.

    Pioneer Works builds community through the arts and sciences to create an open and curious world.

    Pioneer Works is a new model for cultural organizations that is free, open to all, and transcends disciplinary silos. Our programming explores alternative ways of facing societal challenges by leveraging the arts and sciences dynamically as both a lens and catalyst.

    Pioneer Works values curiosity, inclusion, equity, resilience, and community building.


    We cultivate inquiry-based learning and nurture an environment for risk-taking, critical thinking, and forging new connections.


    We encourage different perspectives and prioritize diversity of gender, race, age, skills, and experiences. We aim to diversify our program, staff, board, and community and are committed to ensuring our physical space is accessible to everybody—regardless of varying mobility and abilities.


    We are committed to amplifying voices of underrepresented educators, collaborators, artists, and program participants who are working in nontraditional ways. Pioneer Works is a W.A.G.E. Certified organization. We believe in pay equity for the creative sectors.


    We commit to actions that have positive impacts on our environment. We build resilience through maintaining a garden that provides a habitat for local flora and fauna, composting our organic waste, and reusing and recycling materials when possible. Pioneer Works takes a place-based approach to environmental justice and issues that disproportionately affect frontline communities, such as our neighborhood of Red Hook.

    Community Building

    We engage with our neighbors and celebrate the creative energy of our local communities through partnerships and programs. We center creative voices and value the powerful role that artists, scientists, and culture play in our neighborhoods, both inside and outside the brick and mortar of our building.

  • richardmitnick 12:21 pm on January 27, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Biden-Harris Administration Announces $47 Million to Develop Affordable Clean Hydrogen Technologies", , Chemistry, , Funding Will Reduce Costs and Improve the Performance of Critical Hydrogen Infrastructure and Fuel Cell Technologies and Support DOE’s "Hydrogen Shot".,   

    From The Department of Energy: “Biden-Harris Administration Announces $47 Million to Develop Affordable Clean Hydrogen Technologies” 

    From The Department of Energy


    Funding Will Reduce Costs and Improve the Performance of Critical Hydrogen Infrastructure and Fuel Cell Technologies, Support DOE’s “Hydrogen Shot”.

    The Biden-Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), today announced up to $47 million in funding to accelerate the research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) of affordable clean hydrogen technologies. Projects funded under this opportunity will reduce costs, enhance hydrogen infrastructure, and improve the performance of hydrogen fuel cells—advancing the Department’s Hydrogen Shot goal of reducing the cost of clean hydrogen to $1 per kilogram within a decade.

    U.S. DOE Hydrogen Shot

    Achieving these cost reductions will accelerate the use of clean hydrogen across multiple sectors, strengthening our energy security while supporting President Biden’s ambitious goals of a 100% clean electric grid by 2035 and a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.

    “Clean hydrogen is a versatile fuel essential to achieving President Biden’s vision of an equitable clean energy economy rooted in reliability and affordability,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “This funding will advance cutting-edge research and drive down technology costs to help unlock the full potential of clean hydrogen energy—providing another valuable resource to combat the climate crisis while creating economic opportunities in communities across the country.”

    Clean hydrogen—which is produced with zero or near-zero emissions—is set to play a vital future role in reducing emissions from some of the hardest-to-decarbonize sectors of our economy, including industrial and chemical processes and heavy-duty transportation. Reducing emissions in these sectors will be especially beneficial for disadvantaged communities that have suffered disproportionately from local air pollution in the past. While hydrogen technologies have come a long way over the last several years, costs and other challenges to at-scale adoption need to be addressed for clean hydrogen to realize its full potential. 

    This funding opportunity, which is administered by DOE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO), focuses on RD&D of key hydrogen delivery and storage technologies as well as affordable and durable fuel cell technologies. Fuel cell RD&D projects will focus particularly on applications for heavy-duty trucks, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and eliminate tailpipe emissions that are harmful to local air quality. These efforts will work in concert with hydrogen-related activities funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs and an upcoming funding opportunity for RD&D to advance electrolysis technologies and improve the manufacturing and recycling of critical components and materials.

    For all topic areas, DOE envisions awarding financial assistance awards in the form of cooperative agreements. The estimated period of performance for each award will be approximately two to four years. DOE encourages applicant teams that include stakeholders within academia, industry, and national laboratories across multiple technical disciplines. Teams are also encouraged to include representation from diverse entities such as minority-serving institutions, labor unions, community colleges, and other entities connected through Opportunity Zones.

    The application process will include two phases: a Concept Paper phase and a Full Application phase. Concept papers are due on February 24, 2023, and full applications are due on April 28, 2023.

    Learn more about this funding opportunity, HFTO, and the draft DOE National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap.

    See the full article here.

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The The United States Department of Energy is a cabinet-level department of the United States Government concerned with the United States’ policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material. Its responsibilities include the nation’s nuclear weapons program; nuclear reactor production for the United States Navy; energy conservation; energy-related research; radioactive waste disposal; and domestic energy production. It also directs research in genomics. the Human Genome Project originated in a DOE initiative. DOE sponsors more research in the physical sciences than any other U.S. federal agency, the majority of which is conducted through its system of National Laboratories. The agency is led by the United States Secretary of Energy, and its headquarters are located in Southwest Washington, D.C., on Independence Avenue in the James V. Forrestal Building, named for James Forrestal, as well as in Germantown, Maryland.

    Formation and consolidation

    In 1942, during World War II, the United States started the Manhattan Project, a project to develop the atomic bomb, under the eye of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After the war in 1946, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was created to control the future of the project. The Atomic Energy Act of 1946 also created the framework for the first National Laboratories. Among other nuclear projects, the AEC produced fabricated uranium fuel cores at locations such as Fernald Feed Materials Production Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1974, the AEC gave way to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which was tasked with regulating the nuclear power industry and the Energy Research and Development Administration, which was tasked to manage the nuclear weapon; naval reactor; and energy development programs.

    The 1973 oil crisis called attention to the need to consolidate energy policy. On August 4, 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed into law The Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977 (Pub.L. 95–91, 91 Stat. 565, enacted August 4, 1977), which created the Department of Energy. The new agency, which began operations on October 1, 1977, consolidated the Federal Energy Administration; the Energy Research and Development Administration; the Federal Power Commission; and programs of various other agencies. Former Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger, who served under Presidents Nixon and Ford during the Vietnam War, was appointed as the first secretary.

    President Carter created the Department of Energy with the goal of promoting energy conservation and developing alternative sources of energy. He wanted to not be dependent on foreign oil and reduce the use of fossil fuels. With international energy’s future uncertain for America, Carter acted quickly to have the department come into action the first year of his presidency. This was an extremely important issue of the time as the oil crisis was causing shortages and inflation. With the Three-Mile Island disaster, Carter was able to intervene with the help of the department. Carter made switches within the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in this case to fix the management and procedures. This was possible as nuclear energy and weapons are responsibility of the Department of Energy.


    On March 28, 2017, a supervisor in the Office of International Climate and Clean Energy asked staff to avoid the phrases “climate change,” “emissions reduction,” or “Paris Agreement” in written memos, briefings or other written communication. A DOE spokesperson denied that phrases had been banned.

    In a May 2019 press release concerning natural gas exports from a Texas facility, the DOE used the term ‘freedom gas’ to refer to natural gas. The phrase originated from a speech made by Secretary Rick Perry in Brussels earlier that month. Washington Governor Jay Inslee decried the term “a joke”.


    The Department of Energy operates a system of national laboratories and technical facilities for research and development, as follows:

    Ames Laboratory
    Argonne National Laboratory
    Brookhaven National Laboratory
    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
    Idaho National Laboratory
    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
    Los Alamos National Laboratory
    National Energy Technology Laboratory
    National Renewable Energy Laboratory
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory
    Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
    Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
    Sandia National Laboratories
    Savannah River National Laboratory
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

    Other major DOE facilities include
    Albany Research Center
    Bannister Federal Complex
    Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory – focuses on the design and development of nuclear power for the U.S. Navy
    Kansas City Plant
    Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory – operates for Naval Reactors Program Research under the DOE (not a National Laboratory)
    National Petroleum Technology Office
    Nevada Test Site
    New Brunswick Laboratory
    Office of River Protection
    Radiological and Environmental Laboratory
    Y-12 National Security Complex
    Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository

    Pahute Mesa Airstrip – Nye County, Nevada, in supporting Nevada National Security Site

  • richardmitnick 8:50 am on January 27, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Protein scientists share Frontiers of Knowledge Award", A sophisticated machine-learning technique known as "deep learning", , An anti-coronavirus vaccine created with RoseTTAFold has been clinically tested and distributed in South Korea., , Artificial Intelligence in protein design, Baker co-founded 11 tech firms., Baker directs Rosetta Commons., Baker has authored more than 570 research papers., Baker holds more than 100 patents, , , , , Chemistry, , Genome Sciences, , , Protein molecules are the workhorses of biology and are involved in almost every cellular activity in all living things., , RoseTTAFold also supports the design of new proteins created to carry out specific functions., RoseTTAFold can accomplish in a just a few seconds what used to take years of laboratory work., RoseTTAFold: A deep learning system that can quickly and accurately decipher the three-dimensional structure of proteins, , , UW Medicine’s David Baker   

    From The School of Medicine At The University of Washington: “Protein scientists share Frontiers of Knowledge Award” 

    From The School of Medicine


    The University of Washington


    Leila Gray
    UW Medicine

    BBVA Foundation honors UW Medicine’s David Baker and British scientists Demis Hassabis and John Jumper for artificial intelligence in protein design.

    UW Medicine biochemist David Baker is among three scientists named to receive The Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Biology and Biomedicine. The BBVA Foundation is honoring Baker and British scientists Demis Hassabis and John Jumper, both at AI company Deep Mind, for leading parallel efforts that are revolutionizing artificial intelligence for protein design.

    Protein molecules are the workhorses of biology and are involved in almost every cellular activity in all living things. The ability to analyze their structure, understand their functions and interactions, and engineer brand new, highly useful proteins not found in nature opens avenues to many medical and other advances.

    Baker, who directs the UW Medicine Institute for Protein Design, oversaw the development of RoseTTAFold.

    Researchers used artificial intelligence to generate hundreds of new protein structures, including this 3D view of human interleukin-12 bound to its receptor. Credit: Ian Haydon.

    Deep learning hallucinating a protein design. Image: Ian Haydon.

    It is a “deep learning” system that can quickly and accurately decipher the three-dimensional structure of proteins. It can accomplish in a just a few seconds what used to take years of laboratory work. This technology also supports the design of new proteins, created to carry out specific functions. This holds promise for the engineering of new therapies against a variety of diseases, including cancer and infectious illness, as well as applications in energy, environmental, nanotech and other fields.

    DeepMind’s CEO Hassabis and chief research scientist Jumper headed the creation of the AlphaFold2 tool, which brought artificial intelligence and deep learning to protein structure prediction and design, and which is powering protein research a variety of medical areas and other bioscientific fields.

    The BBVA Foundation promotes world-class scientific research and cultural creation, and the recognition of talent. It is assisted in evaluating nominees for the Frontiers Award in Biology and Biomedicine by the Spanish National Research Council, the country’s premier public research organization. They were joined by an international jury for this category.

    According to the selection committee, as reported in the BBVA Foundation news announcement on the work being honored by this year’s award, “Both computer methods rely on a sophisticated machine-learning technique known as deep learning to predict the shape of proteins with unprecedented accuracy, similar to that of experimentally determined structures, and with exceptional speed.”

    They added, “This breakthrough is revolutionizing our understanding of how the amino acid sequence of proteins leads to uniquely ordered three-dimensional structures. Scientists are now using these new methods.”

    This is an advance, the announcement noted, with huge potential for the development of new treatments against multiple conditions, from combatting the flu virus or COVID-19, cancer cell growth, or malaria parasites, as a few examples.

    Baker was born in Seattle. He earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California-Berkeley. He is currently a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the Henrietta and Aubrey Davis Endowed Professor in Biochemistry at the University of Washington School of Medicine, in addition to directing the Institute for Protein Design. He is also an adjunct professor of genome sciences, bioengineering, chemical engineering, computer science and physics at the UW. He has authored more than 570 research papers, holds more than 100 patents, co-founded 11 tech firms, and directs Rosetta Commons, a consortium of labs and researchers working on biomolecular structure predictions and design software. He and his colleagues are also know for their longstanding citizen scientist effort to involve people from a variety of backgrounds and locations in protein design through Rosetta@Home.

    In the BBVA Foundation award announcement, Baker described the revolution in purpose-designed proteins to advance the creation of new drugs and vaccines. He said that the latest RoseTTAFold version even allows for the design of proteins from simple descriptions, similar to the DALL-E system that generates images from text prompts.

    “So, for example, you can tell RoseTTAFold: design a protein which blocks this flu virus protein, or design a protein which will block these cancer cells,” he said in the BBVA Foundation news release. “RoseTTAFold will then make those proteins. We’ve made them in the lab, and we find that they have exactly those functions.”

    An anti-coronavirus vaccine created with RoseTTAFold has been clinically tested and distributed in South Korea. New purpose-designed anti-cancer medicines are being evaluated in human clinical trials. There are plans for a nasal spray that protects against COVID-19 and work underway on an RSV vaccine, a universal flu vaccine, and ideas for a vaccine against a family of viruses related to SARS-CoV-2.

    “We believe that almost all of medicine will be transformed by the protein design revolution,” said Baker. “Most medicines today are made by making small modifications to the proteins which already exist in nature. Now that we can design completely new proteins, we can develop much more improved, more sophisticated medicines that, for example, can treat cancer without the side effects, be made very quickly upon the outbreak of a new pandemic, and in general will be more precise and more robust.”

    RoseTTAFold and AlphaFold2 are freely available to the scientific community. Upgrades have practically equalized the computing times required by each.

    Although these AI tools have not entirely supplanted experimental methods, they are starting to transform both the field of protein design and biological research more generally.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Washington School of Medicine (UWSOM) is a large public medical school in the northwest United States, located in Seattle and affiliated with the University of Washington. According to U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Best Graduate School rankings, University of Washington School of Medicine ranked #1 in the nation for primary care education, and #7 for research.

    UWSOM is the first public medical school in the states of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. The school maintains a network of teaching facilities in more than 100 towns and cities across the five-state region. As part of this “WWAMI” partnership, medical students from Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho spend their first year and a half at The University of Wyoming , The University of Alaska-Anchorage , Montana State University , or The University of Idaho , respectively. In addition, sixty first-year students and forty second-year students from Washington are based at Gonzaga University in Spokane. Preference is given to residents of the WWAMI states.

    The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.

    So what defines us —the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

    The University of Washington is a public research university in Seattle, Washington, United States. Founded in 1861, University of Washington is one of the oldest universities on the West Coast; it was established in downtown Seattle approximately a decade after the city’s founding to aid its economic development. Today, the university’s 703-acre main Seattle campus is in the University District above the Montlake Cut, within the urban Puget Sound region of the Pacific Northwest. The university has additional campuses in Tacoma and Bothell. Overall, University of Washington encompasses over 500 buildings and over 20 million gross square footage of space, including one of the largest library systems in the world with more than 26 university libraries, as well as the UW Tower, lecture halls, art centers, museums, laboratories, stadiums, and conference centers. The university offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees through 140 departments in various colleges and schools, sees a total student enrollment of roughly 46,000 annually, and functions on a quarter system.

    University of Washington is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation, UW spent $1.41 billion on research and development in 2018, ranking it 5th in the nation. As the flagship institution of the six public universities in Washington state, it is known for its medical, engineering and scientific research as well as its highly competitive computer science and engineering programs. Additionally, University of Washington continues to benefit from its deep historic ties and major collaborations with numerous technology giants in the region, such as Amazon, Boeing, Nintendo, and particularly Microsoft. Paul G. Allen, Bill Gates and others spent significant time at Washington computer labs for a startup venture before founding Microsoft and other ventures. The University of Washington’s 22 varsity sports teams are also highly competitive, competing as the Huskies in the Pac-12 Conference of the NCAA Division I, representing the United States at the Olympic Games, and other major competitions.

    The university has been affiliated with many notable alumni and faculty, including 21 Nobel Prize laureates and numerous Pulitzer Prize winners, Fulbright Scholars, Rhodes Scholars and Marshall Scholars.

    In 1854, territorial governor Isaac Stevens recommended the establishment of a university in the Washington Territory. Prominent Seattle-area residents, including Methodist preacher Daniel Bagley, saw this as a chance to add to the city’s potential and prestige. Bagley learned of a law that allowed United States territories to sell land to raise money in support of public schools. At the time, Arthur A. Denny, one of the founders of Seattle and a member of the territorial legislature, aimed to increase the city’s importance by moving the territory’s capital from Olympia to Seattle. However, Bagley eventually convinced Denny that the establishment of a university would assist more in the development of Seattle’s economy. Two universities were initially chartered, but later the decision was repealed in favor of a single university in Lewis County provided that locally donated land was available. When no site emerged, Denny successfully petitioned the legislature to reconsider Seattle as a location in 1858.

    In 1861, scouting began for an appropriate 10 acres (4 ha) site in Seattle to serve as a new university campus. Arthur and Mary Denny donated eight acres, while fellow pioneers Edward Lander, and Charlie and Mary Terry, donated two acres on Denny’s Knoll in downtown Seattle. More specifically, this tract was bounded by 4th Avenue to the west, 6th Avenue to the east, Union Street to the north, and Seneca Streets to the south.

    John Pike, for whom Pike Street is named, was the university’s architect and builder. It was opened on November 4, 1861, as the Territorial University of Washington. The legislature passed articles incorporating the University, and establishing its Board of Regents in 1862. The school initially struggled, closing three times: in 1863 for low enrollment, and again in 1867 and 1876 due to funds shortage. University of Washington awarded its first graduate Clara Antoinette McCarty Wilt in 1876, with a bachelor’s degree in science.

    19th century relocation

    By the time Washington state entered the Union in 1889, both Seattle and the University had grown substantially. University of Washington’s total undergraduate enrollment increased from 30 to nearly 300 students, and the campus’s relative isolation in downtown Seattle faced encroaching development. A special legislative committee, headed by University of Washington graduate Edmond Meany, was created to find a new campus to better serve the growing student population and faculty. The committee eventually selected a site on the northeast of downtown Seattle called Union Bay, which was the land of the Duwamish, and the legislature appropriated funds for its purchase and construction. In 1895, the University relocated to the new campus by moving into the newly built Denny Hall. The University Regents tried and failed to sell the old campus, eventually settling with leasing the area. This would later become one of the University’s most valuable pieces of real estate in modern-day Seattle, generating millions in annual revenue with what is now called the Metropolitan Tract. The original Territorial University building was torn down in 1908, and its former site now houses the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.

    The sole-surviving remnants of Washington’s first building are four 24-foot (7.3 m), white, hand-fluted cedar, Ionic columns. They were salvaged by Edmond S. Meany, one of the University’s first graduates and former head of its history department. Meany and his colleague, Dean Herbert T. Condon, dubbed the columns as “Loyalty,” “Industry,” “Faith”, and “Efficiency”, or “LIFE.” The columns now stand in the Sylvan Grove Theater.

    20th century expansion

    Organizers of the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition eyed the still largely undeveloped campus as a prime setting for their world’s fair. They came to an agreement with Washington’s Board of Regents that allowed them to use the campus grounds for the exposition, surrounding today’s Drumheller Fountain facing towards Mount Rainier. In exchange, organizers agreed Washington would take over the campus and its development after the fair’s conclusion. This arrangement led to a detailed site plan and several new buildings, prepared in part by John Charles Olmsted. The plan was later incorporated into the overall University of Washington campus master plan, permanently affecting the campus layout.

    Both World Wars brought the military to campus, with certain facilities temporarily lent to the federal government. In spite of this, subsequent post-war periods were times of dramatic growth for the University. The period between the wars saw a significant expansion of the upper campus. Construction of the Liberal Arts Quadrangle, known to students as “The Quad,” began in 1916 and continued to 1939. The University’s architectural centerpiece, Suzzallo Library, was built in 1926 and expanded in 1935.

    After World War II, further growth came with the G.I. Bill. Among the most important developments of this period was the opening of the School of Medicine in 1946, which is now consistently ranked as the top medical school in the United States. It would eventually lead to the University of Washington Medical Center, ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top ten hospitals in the nation.

    In 1942, all persons of Japanese ancestry in the Seattle area were forced into inland internment camps as part of Executive Order 9066 following the attack on Pearl Harbor. During this difficult time, university president Lee Paul Sieg took an active and sympathetic leadership role in advocating for and facilitating the transfer of Japanese American students to universities and colleges away from the Pacific Coast to help them avoid the mass incarceration. Nevertheless, many Japanese American students and “soon-to-be” graduates were unable to transfer successfully in the short time window or receive diplomas before being incarcerated. It was only many years later that they would be recognized for their accomplishments during the University of Washington’s Long Journey Home ceremonial event that was held in May 2008.

    From 1958 to 1973, the University of Washington saw a tremendous growth in student enrollment, its faculties and operating budget, and also its prestige under the leadership of Charles Odegaard. University of Washington student enrollment had more than doubled to 34,000 as the baby boom generation came of age. However, this era was also marked by high levels of student activism, as was the case at many American universities. Much of the unrest focused around civil rights and opposition to the Vietnam War. In response to anti-Vietnam War protests by the late 1960s, the University Safety and Security Division became the University of Washington Police Department.

    Odegaard instituted a vision of building a “community of scholars”, convincing the Washington State legislatures to increase investment in the University. Washington senators, such as Henry M. Jackson and Warren G. Magnuson, also used their political clout to gather research funds for the University of Washington. The results included an increase in the operating budget from $37 million in 1958 to over $400 million in 1973, solidifying University of Washington as a top recipient of federal research funds in the United States. The establishment of technology giants such as Microsoft, Boeing and Amazon in the local area also proved to be highly influential in the University of Washington’s fortunes, not only improving graduate prospects but also helping to attract millions of dollars in university and research funding through its distinguished faculty and extensive alumni network.

    21st century

    In 1990, the University of Washington opened its additional campuses in Bothell and Tacoma. Although originally intended for students who have already completed two years of higher education, both schools have since become four-year universities with the authority to grant degrees. The first freshman classes at these campuses started in fall 2006. Today both Bothell and Tacoma also offer a selection of master’s degree programs.

    In 2012, the University began exploring plans and governmental approval to expand the main Seattle campus, including significant increases in student housing, teaching facilities for the growing student body and faculty, as well as expanded public transit options. The University of Washington light rail station was completed in March 2015, connecting Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood to the University of Washington Husky Stadium within five minutes of rail travel time. It offers a previously unavailable option of transportation into and out of the campus, designed specifically to reduce dependence on private vehicles, bicycles and local King County buses.

    University of Washington has been listed as a “Public Ivy” in Greene’s Guides since 2001, and is an elected member of the American Association of Universities. Among the faculty by 2012, there have been 151 members of American Association for the Advancement of Science, 68 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 67 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 53 members of the National Academy of Medicine, 29 winners of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, 21 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 15 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators, 15 MacArthur Fellows, 9 winners of the Gairdner Foundation International Award, 5 winners of the National Medal of Science, 7 Nobel Prize laureates, 5 winners of Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research, 4 members of the American Philosophical Society, 2 winners of the National Book Award, 2 winners of the National Medal of Arts, 2 Pulitzer Prize winners, 1 winner of the Fields Medal, and 1 member of the National Academy of Public Administration. Among UW students by 2012, there were 136 Fulbright Scholars, 35 Rhodes Scholars, 7 Marshall Scholars and 4 Gates Cambridge Scholars. UW is recognized as a top producer of Fulbright Scholars, ranking 2nd in the US in 2017.

    The Academic Ranking of World Universities has consistently ranked University of Washington as one of the top 20 universities worldwide every year since its first release. In 2019, University of Washington ranked 14th worldwide out of 500 by the ARWU, 26th worldwide out of 981 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and 28th worldwide out of 101 in the Times World Reputation Rankings. Meanwhile, QS World University Rankings ranked it 68th worldwide, out of over 900.

    U.S. News & World Report ranked University of Washington 8th out of nearly 1,500 universities worldwide for 2021, with University of Washington’s undergraduate program tied for 58th among 389 national universities in the U.S. and tied for 19th among 209 public universities.

    In 2019, it ranked 10th among the universities around the world by SCImago Institutions Rankings. In 2017, the Leiden Ranking, which focuses on science and the impact of scientific publications among the world’s 500 major universities, ranked University of Washington 12th globally and 5th in the U.S.

    In 2019, Kiplinger Magazine’s review of “top college values” named University of Washington 5th for in-state students and 10th for out-of-state students among U.S. public colleges, and 84th overall out of 500 schools. In the Washington Monthly National University Rankings University of Washington was ranked 15th domestically in 2018, based on its contribution to the public good as measured by social mobility, research, and promoting public service.

  • richardmitnick 5:32 pm on January 26, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NCS": National Crystallography Service, "World-class centre for single crystal electron diffraction will be UK first", , Chemistry, Enabling the design of new and improved materials in several economically important areas and speeding up work on the green transition., National Electron Diffraction Facility - part of the National Crystallography Service, The centre of excellence for electron diffraction will be open for academic and commercial partners in July 2023., The new facility will feature two new XtaLAB Synergy-ED fully integrated electron diffractometers., The new facility will move from studying microcrystals to now being able to get the same detailed information on nanocrystals., , , This machine provides a seamless workflow from sample preparation through data collection to structure determination of three-dimensional molecular structures from single nano crystals., University of Southampton and University of Warwick will expand the technique to create an integrated electron diffraction facility operating with a world-leading national X-ray service., Using electrons instead of conventional X-ray crystallography scientists will be able to investigate and determine the structure of much smaller crystals than previously possible.   

    From The University of Southampton (UK) And From The University of Warwick (UK): “World-class centre for single crystal electron diffraction will be UK first” 

    U Southampton bloc

    From The University of Southampton (UK)


    From The University of Warwick (UK)


    A new centre based jointly at the University of Southampton and the University of Warwick will draw on expertise from two world class universities and become a game changer for chemical industries, including manufacturing, pharma and electronics.

    The National Electron Diffraction Facility, part of the National Crystallography Service (NCS), will be the first in the UK and the first national facility in the world. Using electrons, instead of conventional X-ray crystallography, scientists will be able to investigate and determine the structure of much smaller crystals than previously possible. This will enable the design of new and improved materials in several economically important areas including batteries, catalysts, energy storage materials, solar cells, pharmaceuticals and more, speeding up work on the green transition.

    The new facility will feature two new XtaLAB Synergy-ED fully integrated electron diffractometers.

    Rigaku XtaLAB Synergy-ED fully integrated electron diffractometers

    This machine provides a seamless workflow from sample preparation through data collection to structure determination of three-dimensional molecular structures from single nano crystals. The instruments will be housed in refurbished laboratories in Southampton and Warwick, which will also include sample preparation facilities and space for visiting researchers to work and integrate with the NCS team.

    Thanks to a £3.2 million research grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and supported by global market leader, Rigaku, the centre of excellence for electron diffraction will be open for academic and commercial partners in July 2023.

    Professor Simon Coles [University of Southampton] (left) and Dr Richard Beanland [University of Warwick]

    Simon Coles, Professor of Structural Chemistry and project lead for the University of Southampton site, said: “Historically, the NCS has really pushed the boundaries of what is possible by X-ray crystallography. In a tremendously exciting development, we will massively expand the technique through partnering with Warwick and Rigaku to create an integrated electron diffraction facility operating in a totally complimentary way with our world-leading national X-ray service.

    “By using electrons rather than X-rays, this new facility takes us to a world where we can transform structural analysis by moving from studying microcrystals to now being able to get the same detailed information on nanocrystals.”

    Dr David Walker is Facility Manager of the X-ray Diffraction Research Technology Platform and project lead at the University of Warwick. As a research technical professional, he led Warwick to success in such a prestigious award and was keen to ensure the facility provided posts for research technical professionals, who will provide the dedicated expertise to underpin the effective sharing of this ground-breaking technology.

    He said: “This exciting new instrument will enable us to study many crystalline materials that previously were difficult/impossible to grow into suitably sized crystals to be measured by the gold standard X-ray diffraction techniques. This will revolutionise our understanding of the structure of many economically important materials including pharmaceuticals, catalysts, batteries and energy storage materials leading to breakthroughs in these areas.”

    Dr Mark Benson, General Manager, Global Sales and Marketing at Rigaku, said: “We are extremely proud to continue our long partnership with the UK National Crystallography Service. The NCS has been using Rigaku X-ray instruments for 13 years and will shortly be adding two of the world’s first dedicated electron diffractometer, the XtaLAB Synergy-ED, to their service at the universities of Southampton and Warwick. Our partnership will drive innovation and development in the rapidly growing field of electron diffraction.”

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The establishment of the The University of Warwick (UK) was given approval by the government in 1961 and received its Royal Charter of Incorporation in 1965.
    The University initially admitted a small intake of graduate students in 1964 and took its first 450 undergraduates in October 1965. In October 2013, the student population was over 23,000 of which 9,775 are postgraduates. Around a third of the student body comes from overseas and over 120 countries are represented on the campus.
    The University of Warwick is a public research university on the outskirts of Coventry between the West Midlands and Warwickshire, England. The University was founded in 1965 as part of a government initiative to expand higher education. The Warwick Business School was established in 1967, the Warwick Law School in 1968, Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) in 1980, and Warwick Medical School in 2000. Warwick incorporated Coventry College of Education in 1979 and Horticulture Research International in 2004.
    Warwick is primarily based on a 290 hectares (720 acres) campus on the outskirts of Coventry, with a satellite campus in Wellesbourne and a central London base at the Shard. It is organized into three faculties — Arts, Science Engineering and Medicine, and Social Sciences — within which there are 32 departments. As of 2019, Warwick has around 26,531 full-time students and 2,492 academic and research staff. It had a consolidated income of £679.9 million in 2019/20, of which £131.7 million was from research grants and contracts. Warwick Arts Centre is a multi-venue arts complex in the university’s main campus and is the largest venue of its kind in the UK, which is not in London.

    Warwick has an average intake of 4,950 undergraduates out of 38,071 applicants (7.7 applicants per place).
    Warwick is a member of Association of Commonwealth Universities (UK), the Association of MBAs, EQUIS, the European University Association (EU), the Midlands Innovation group, the Russell Group (UK), Sutton 13. It is the only European member of the Center for Urban Science and Progress, a collaboration with New York University. The university has extensive commercial activities, including the University of Warwick Science Park and Warwick Manufacturing Group.
    Warwick’s alumni and staff include winners of the Nobel Prize, Turing Award, Fields Medal, Richard W. Hamming Medal, Emmy Award, Grammy, and the Padma Vibhushan, and are fellows to the British Academy, the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Royal Society. Alumni also include heads of state, government officials, leaders in intergovernmental organizations, and the current chief economist at the Bank of England. Researchers at Warwick have also made significant contributions such as the development of penicillin, music therapy, Washington Consensus, Second-wave feminism, computing standards, including ISO and ECMA, complexity theory, contract theory, and the International Political Economy as a field of study.

    Twentieth century

    The idea for a university in Warwickshire was first mounted shortly after World War II, although it was not founded for a further two decades. A partnership of the city and county councils ultimately provided the impetus for the university to be established on a 400-acre (1.6 km^2) site jointly granted by the two authorities. There was some discussion between local sponsors from both the city and county over whether it should be named after Coventry or Warwickshire. The name “University of Warwick” was adopted, even though Warwick, the county town, lies some 8 miles (13 km) to its southwest and Coventry’s city centre is only 3.5 miles (5.6 km) northeast of the campus. The establishment of the University of Warwick was given approval by the government in 1961 and it received its Royal Charter of Incorporation in 1965. Since then, the university has incorporated the former Coventry College of Education in 1979 and has extended its land holdings by the continuing purchase of adjoining farm land. The university also benefited from a substantial donation from the family of John ‘Jack’ Martin, a Coventry businessman who had made a fortune from investment in Smirnoff vodka, and which enabled the construction of the Warwick Arts Centre.

    The university initially admitted a small intake of graduate students in 1964 and took its first 450 undergraduates in October 1965. Since its establishment Warwick has expanded its grounds to 721 acres (2.9 km^2), with many modern buildings and academic facilities, lakes, and woodlands. In the 1960s and 1970s, Warwick had a reputation as a politically radical institution.

    Under Vice-Chancellor Lord Butterworth, Warwick was the first UK university to adopt a business approach to higher education, develop close links with the business community and exploit the commercial value of its research. These tendencies were discussed by British historian and then-Warwick lecturer, E. P. Thompson, in his 1970 edited book Warwick University Ltd.

    The Leicester Warwick Medical School, a new medical school based jointly at Warwick and University of Leicester (UK), opened in September 2000.

    On the recommendation of Tony Blair, Bill Clinton chose Warwick as the venue for his last major foreign policy address as US President in December 2000. Sandy Berger, Clinton’s National Security Advisor, explaining the decision in a press briefing on 7 December 2000, said that: “Warwick is one of Britain’s newest and finest research universities, singled out by Prime Minister Blair as a model both of academic excellence and independence from the government.”

    Twenty-first century
    The university was seen as a favored institution of the Labor government during the New Labor years (1997 to 2010). It was academic partner for a number of flagship Government schemes including the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth and the NHS University (now defunct). Tony Blair described Warwick as “a beacon among British universities for its dynamism, quality and entrepreneurial zeal”. In a 2012 study by Virgin Media Business, Warwick was described as the most “digitally-savvy” UK university.

    In February 2001, IBM donated a new S/390 computer and software worth £2 million to Warwick, to form part of a “Grid” enabling users to remotely share computing power. In April 2004 Warwick merged with the Wellesbourne and Kirton sites of Horticulture Research International. In July 2004 Warwick was the location for an important agreement between the Labor Party and the trade unions on Labor policy and trade union law, which has subsequently become known as the “Warwick Agreement”.

    In June 2006 the new University Hospital Coventry opened, including a 102,000 sq ft (9,500 m^2) university clinical sciences building. Warwick Medical School was granted independent degree-awarding status in 2007, and the School’s partnership with the University of Leicester was dissolved in the same year. In February 2010, Lord Bhattacharyya, director and founder of the WMG unit at Warwick, made a £1 million donation to the university to support science grants and awards.

    In February 2012 Warwick and Melbourne-based Monash University (AU) announced the formation of a strategic partnership, including the creation of 10 joint senior academic posts, new dual master’s and joint doctoral degrees, and co-ordination of research programmes. In March 2012 Warwick and Queen Mary University of London announced the creation of a strategic partnership, including research collaboration, some joint teaching of English, history and computer science undergraduates, and the creation of eight joint post-doctoral research fellowships.

    In April 2012 it was announced that Warwick would be the only European university participating in the Center for Urban Science and Progress, an applied science research institute to be based in New York consisting of an international consortium of universities and technology companies led by New York University and NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

    In August 2012, Warwick and five other Midlands-based universities — Aston University (UK), The University of Birmingham (UK), The University of Leicester (UK), Loughborough University (UK) and The University of Nottingham — formed the M5 Group, a regional bloc intended to maximize the member institutions’ research income and enable closer collaboration.

    In September 2013 it was announced that a new National Automotive Innovation Centre would be built by WMG at Warwick’s main campus at a cost of £100 million, with £50 million to be contributed by Jaguar Land Rover and £30 million by Tata Motors.

    In July 2014, the government announced that Warwick would be the host for the £1 billion Advanced Propulsion Centre, a joint venture between the Automotive Council and industry. The ten-year programme intends to position the university and the UK as leaders in the field of research into the next generation of automotive technology.

    In September 2015, Warwick celebrated its 50th anniversary (1965–2015) and was designated “University of the Year” by The Times and The Sunday Times.


    In 2013/14 Warwick had a total research income of £90.1 million, of which £33.9 million was from Research Councils; £25.9 million was from central government, local authorities and public corporations; £12.7 million was from the European Union; £7.9 million was from UK industry and commerce; £5.2 million was from UK charitable bodies; £4.0 million was from overseas sources; and £0.5 million was from other sources.

    In the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework Warwick was again ranked 7th overall (as 2008) amongst multi-faculty institutions and was the top-ranked university in the Midlands. Some 87% of the University’s academic staff were rated as being in “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” departments with top research ratings of 4* or 3*.

    Warwick is particularly strong in the areas of decision sciences research (economics, finance, management, mathematics and statistics). For instance, researchers of the Warwick Business School have won the highest prize of the prestigious European Case Clearing House (ECCH: the equivalent of the Oscars in terms of management research).

    Warwick has established a number of stand-alone units to manage and extract commercial value from its research activities. The four most prominent examples of these units are University of Warwick Science Park; Warwick HRI; Warwick Ventures (the technology transfer arm of the University); and WMG.

    U Southampton campus

    The University of Southampton (UK) is a world-class university built on the quality and diversity of our community. Our staff place a high value on excellence and creativity, supporting independence of thought, and the freedom to challenge existing knowledge and beliefs through critical research and scholarship. Through our education and research we transform people’s lives and change the world for the better.

    Vision 2020 is the basis of our strategy.

    Since publication of the previous University Strategy in 2010 we have achieved much of what we set out to do against a backdrop of a major economic downturn and radical change in higher education in the UK.

    Vision 2020 builds on these foundations, describing our future ambition and priorities. It presents a vision of the University as a confident, growing, outwardly-focused institution that has global impact. It describes a connected institution equally committed to education and research, providing a distinctive educational experience for its students, and confident in its place as a leading international research university, achieving world-wide impact.

    The university has seven campuses. The main campus is located in the Highfield area of Southampton and is supplemented by four other campuses within the city: Avenue Campus housing the School of Humanities, the National Oceanography Centre housing courses in Ocean and Earth Sciences, Southampton General Hospital offering courses in Medicine and Health Sciences, and Boldrewood Campus housing an engineering and maritime technology campus and Lloyd’s Register. In addition, the university operates a School of Art based in nearby Winchester and an international branch in Malaysia offering courses in Engineering. Each campus is equipped with its own library facilities.

    The University of Southampton currently has 14,705 undergraduate and 7,960 postgraduate students, making it the largest university by higher education students in the South East region. The University of Southampton Students’ Union, provides support, representation and social activities for the students ranging from involvement in the Union’s four media outlets, to any of the 200 affiliated societies and 80 sports. The university owns and operates a sports ground for use by students and also operates a sports centre on the main campus.

    The University of Southampton has its origin as the Hartley Institution which was formed in 1862 from a benefaction by Henry Robinson Hartley (1777–1850). Hartley had inherited a fortune from two generations of successful wine merchants. At his death in 1850, he left a bequest of £103,000 to the Southampton Corporation for the study and advancement of the sciences in his property on Southampton’s High Street, in the city centre.

    Hartley was an eccentric straggler, who had little liking of the new age docks and railways in Southampton. He did not desire to create a college for many (as formed at similar time in other English industrial towns and commercial ports) but a cultural centre for Southampton’s intellectual elite.[14] After lengthy legal challenges to the Bequest, and a public debate as to how best interpret the language of his Will, the Southampton Corporation choose to create the Institute (rather than a more widely accessible college, that some public figures had lobbied for).

    On 15 October 1862, the Hartley Institute was opened by the Prime Minister Lord Palmerston in a major civic occasion which exceeded in splendor anything that anyone in the town could remember.[15] After initial years of financial struggle, the Hartley Institute became the Hartley College in 1883. This move was followed by increasing numbers of students, teaching staff, an expansion of the facilities and registered lodgings for students.

    University College

    In 1902, the Hartley College became the Hartley University college, a degree awarding branch of the University of London. This was after inspection of the teaching and finances by the University College Grants Committee, and donations from Council members (including William Darwin the then Treasurer). An increase in student numbers in the following years motivated fund raising efforts to move the college to greenfield land around Back Lane (now University Road) in the Highfield area of Southampton. On 20 June 1914, Viscount Haldane opened the new site of the renamed Southampton University College. However, the outbreak of the First World War six weeks later meant no lectures could take place there, as the buildings were handed over by the college authorities for use as a military hospital. To cope with the volume of casualties, wooden huts were erected at the rear of the building. These were donated to university by the War Office after the end of fighting, in time for the transfer from the high street premises in 1920. At this time, Highfield Hall, a former country house and overlooking Southampton Common, for which a lease had earlier been secured, commenced use as a halls of residence for female students. South Hill, on what is now the Glen Eyre Halls Complex was also acquired, along with South Stoneham House to house male students.

    Expansion through the 1920s and 1930s was made possible through private donors, such as the two daughters of Edward Turner Sims for the construction of the university library, and from the people of Southampton, enabling new buildings on both sides of University Road. During World War II the university suffered damage in the Southampton Blitz with bombs landing on the campus and its halls of residence. The college decided against evacuation, instead expanding its Engineering Department, School of Navigation and developing a new School of Radio Telegraphy. The university hosted the Supermarine plans and design team for a period but in December 1940 further bomb hits resulted in it being relocated to Hursley House.

    Halls of residence were used to house Polish, French and American troops. After the war, departments such as Electronics grew under the influence of Erich Zepler and the Institute of Sound and Vibration was established.

    On 29 April 1952, Queen Elizabeth II granted the University of Southampton a Royal Charter, the first to be given to a university during her reign, which enabled it to award degrees. Six faculties were created: Arts, Science, Engineering, Economics, Education and Law. The first University of Southampton degrees were awarded on 4 July 1953, following the appointment of the Duke of Wellington as Chancellor of the university. Student and staff numbers grew throughout the next couple of decades as a response to the Robbins Report. The campus also grew significantly, when in July 1961 the university was given the approval to acquire some 200 houses on or near the campus by the Borough Council. In addition, more faculties and departments were founded, including Medicine and Oceanography (despite the discouragement of Sir John Wolfenden, the chairman of the University Grants Committee). Student accommodation was expanded throughout the 1960s and 1970s with the acquisition of Chilworth manor and new buildings at the Glen Eyre and Montefiore complexes.

    In 1987, a crisis developed when the University Grants Committee announced, as part of nationwide cutbacks, a series of reductions in the funding of the university. To eliminate the expected losses, the budgets and deficits subcommittee proposed reducing staff numbers. This proposal was met with demonstrations on campus and was later reworked (to reduce the redundancies and reallocate the reductions in faculties funding) after being rejected by the university Senate.

    By the mid-1980s through to the 1990s, the university looked to expand with new buildings on the Highfield campus, developing the Chilworth Manor site into a science park and conference venue, opening the National Oceanography Centre at a dockside location and purchasing new land from the City Council for the Arts Faculty and sports fields (at Avenue Campus and Wide Lane, respectively).

    Under the leadership of then Vice-Chancellor, Sir Howard Newby the university became more focused in encouraging and investment in more and better quality research. In the mid-1990s, the university gained two new campuses, as the Winchester School of Art and La Sainte Union College became part of the university. A new school for Nursing and Midwifery was also created and went on to provide training for NHS professionals in central-southern England. This involved a huge increase in student numbers and the establishment of sub-campuses in Basingstoke, Winchester, Portsmouth and Newport, Isle of Wight.

    In the autumn of 1997, the university experienced Britain’s worst outbreak of meningitis, with the death of three students.The university responded to the crisis by organizing a mass vaccination programme, and later took the ground-breaking decision to offer all new students vaccinations.

    The university celebrated its Golden Jubilee on 22 January 2002. By this time, Southampton had research income that represented over half of the total income. In recent years a number of new landmark buildings have been added as part of the estates development. New constructions on the main campus include the Jubilee Sports Complex in 2004, the EEE (ECS, Education and Entrance) building in 2007, the new Mountbatten building in 2008 housing the School of Electronics and Computer Science following a fire and the Life Sciences building in 2010. In addition, the Hartley Library and Student Services Centre were both extended and redesigned in 2005 and the Students’ Union was also extended in 2002. Other constructions include the Archaeology building on Avenue Campus in 2006 and the Institute of Development Sciences building at Southampton General Hospital in 2007. The university has also significantly redeveloped its Boldrewood Campus which is home to part of the engineering faculty and to Lloyd’s Register’s Global Technology Centre.

    The university joined the Science and Engineering South Consortium on 9 May 2013. The SES was created to pool the collective insights and resources of the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London and University College London to innovate and explore new ideas through collaboration whilst providing efficiencies of scale and shared utilization of facilities. This is the most powerful cluster of research intensive universities in the UK and the new consortium is to become one of the world’s leading hubs for science and engineering research.

    In 2015, the university started a fundraising campaign to build the Centre for Cancer Immunology based at Southampton General Hospital. At the beginning of 2018, the target amount of £25 million was raised, allowing 150 scientists to move into the building in March 2018. The Centre for Cancer Immunology is the first of its kind in the UK and contains facilities that will hosts clinical trial units and laboratories that will explore the relationship between cancer and the immune system.


    The university comprises five faculties, each with a number of academic units.[85] This current faculty structure came into effect in 2018, taking over from a previous structure consisting of eight faculties. The current faculty structure is:

    Faculty of Arts and Humanities
    Winchester School of Art
    Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
    Electronics and Computer Science
    Physics and Astronomy
    Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences
    Biological Sciences
    Geography and Environmental Science
    Health Sciences (nursing, midwifery, allied health professionals)
    Ocean and Earth Sciences
    National Oceanography Centre
    Faculty of Medicine
    Southampton Medical School
    Faculty of Social Sciences
    Economic, Social and Political Sciences
    Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute
    Mathematical Sciences
    Southampton Business School
    Southampton Education School
    Southampton Law School

    Rankings and reputation

    In the 2023 international university rankings, Southampton ranked 78th (QS World University Rankings) and 108th (Times Higher Education World University Rankings). The 2022 Round University Ranking ranked Southampton 72nd globally, and the 2022 CWTS Leiden Ranking placed Southampton 85th worldwide. The 2021 U.S. News & World Report ranks Southampton 97th in the world and 11th in the UK.

    Southampton was originally awarded Bronze (“provision is of satisfactory quality”) in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework, a government assessment of the quality of undergraduate teaching in universities and other higher education providers in England. The Bronze award was appealed by the university, however it was rejected by the HEFCE in August 2017. In response, the university’s Vice Chancellor, Christopher Snowden, claimed the exercise was “devoid of any meaningful assessment of teaching” and that “there are serious lessons to be learned if the TEF is to gain public confidence.” Enrollment into the exercise was voluntary and institutions were made aware of the metrics used before agreeing to be assessed by the TEF. In January 2018, the university confirmed that it would re-enter the TEF believing that it would benefit from changed evaluations that would benefit Russell Group universities. In 2018, Southampton was awarded Silver by the Teaching Excellence Framework panel.

    The Guardian ranked the university at number 1 in the UK for Civil Engineering and Electronic and Electrical Engineering in 2020.

    In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework assessing the research output of 154 British Universities and Institutes, Southampton was ranked 18th for GPA (15th among Russell Group Universities), 11th for research power (11th among Russell Group Universities), and 8th for research intensity (7th among Russell Group Universities).

    The university conducts research in most academic disciplines and is home to a number of notable research centres. Southampton has leading research centres in a number of disciplines, e.g. music, computer sciences, engineering or management sciences, and houses world-leading research institutions in fields as varied as oceanography and web science.

    Within the university there are a number of research institutes and groups that aim to pool resources on a specific research area.

  • richardmitnick 4:29 pm on January 24, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Novel method for controlling chemical reactions discovered", A special palladium catalyst that can for the first time selectively approach a previously impossible position within molecules., , Chemistry, , Organic chemists develop new catalyst to selectively activate carbon-hydrogen bonds, Substituted aromatics are among the most important building blocks for organic compounds such as drugs and crop ­protecting agents and many materials.,   

    From The Kiel University [Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel] (DE): “Novel method for controlling chemical reactions discovered” 

    From The Kiel University [Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel] (DE)


    Organic chemists develop new catalyst to selectively activate carbon-hydrogen bonds

    Prof. Dr. Manuel van Gemmeren
    Otto Diels-Institut für Organische Chemie
    Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
    +49 431 880 1707

    Substituted aromatics are among the most important building blocks for organic compounds such as drugs, crop­protecting agents, and many materials. The function of the molecules is determined by the spatial arrangement of the different building blocks, the substitution pattern. A research team from the Otto Diels Institute of Organic Chemistry at Kiel University has now presented a method in the journal Chem [below] to produce compounds with a particularly attractive but typically challenging to access substitution pattern, more efficiently than before. To enable the required activation of carbon-hydrogen (C-H) bonds, they developed a special palladium catalyst that can for the first time selectively approach a previously impossible position within molecules.

    Graphical abstract

    Closing a long-time research gap

    With their new method, the scientists close a long-time research gap. “In principle, substituted aromatic compounds have three positions to which a catalyst can attach in order to induce a reaction – called ortho, meta and para. Depending on the position, different chemical products with fundamentally different properties are formed at the end,” says Manuel van Gemmeren, Professor of Organic Chemistry at Kiel University. For the ortho and para positions, it is already known how to allow catalysts to specifically attack there. Now, for the first time, Manuel van Gemmeren and his team can also selectively target the meta position directly. This allows them to produce meta-substituted benzyl ammonium species, which are versatile compounds for further elaboration in organic chemistry.

    Normally, these compounds only appear in small amounts mixed with other products. “Until now, they had to be separated from each other with a lot of effort. Alternatively, you needed tedious synthetic routes to produce them in a targeted manner. Both cases resulted in unnecessary waste products,” explains van Gemmeren.

    With the new method, meta-substituted benzyl ammonium compounds can now be produced much more efficiently. The research team around van Gemmeren used a principle that had not been described in the literature before: the palladium catalyst they designed can interact with charges in the molecule. This drastically changes the composition of the resulting products in favour of the substitution pattern that was previously difficult to produce. Calculations by colleagues at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ), Spain, showed that charge interactions are indeed responsible for this.

    Method also interesting for pharmaceutical or agricultural companies

    These findings from basic research can also be of interest to pharmaceutical or agricultural companies that build up huge libraries of structurally related molecules to study their biological activity. “Wherever the largest possible variety of compounds is systematically examined, our method can be a helpful tool to close previous knowledge gaps,” says van Gemmeren.

    The development of the new method is the result of many years of preliminary work that began at the University of Münster. Here van Gemmeren set up his own research group on the activation of C-H bonds via the Emmy Noether program of the German Research Foundation (DFG) before he came to Kiel University in 2022. In Kiel, he will also implement his ERC Starting Grant project “DULICAT”, from which the conceptual idea for the new method emerged. For this van Gemmeren had received funding of 1.8 million euros from the European Research Council (ERC).

    Introduction to the main image:

    The presence of multiple chemically different C–H bonds in organic molecules with only marginal differences in their stability and reactivity renders the control of regioselectivity one of the key challenges in the field of C–H activation and functionalization.
    In this context, unbiased monosubstituted arenes are highly interesting because of the three competing positions (ortho, meta, and para; Scheme 1). Proximal ortho-C–H activation reactions have been well explored with the assistance of chelation control using Lewis-basic moieties on the substrate (path A). Alternatively, distal meta- and para-positions have been reached through the use of either a transient mediator (path B) or the analogous introduction of a traceless directing group (DG) in the middle position and its subsequent removal after metafunctionalization.

    U-shaped (for meta, path C) and D-shaped (for para) templates can accommodate macrocyclic cyclophane-like transition states. Despite significant progress, these directed or template-assisted C–H activation methods suffer from the inherent limitations of requiring a covalent attachment of the transition metal to the often highly specialized structural motif of the DG. As a consequence, additional steps can become necessary to convert the DG into a desired simple organic functionality.In turn, non-directed methods, although delivering products starting from simple arenes, suffer from regioselectivity issues, especially for unbiased substrates.
    To overcome these limitations, non-directed methods have been supplemented with weak non-covalent interactions between the substrate and the ligands of the catalyst, an approach that was first introduced for Ir-catalyzed C–H borylation reactions.

    In 2017, the Yu group reported a bifunctional template with two distinct metal positions. One of these metal centers anchors the heterocyclic substrate through coordination and positions the substrate such that the other site can selectively engage in a meta-C–H activation and olefination (path D), an approach later extended by Xu, Jin, and co-workers to H-bonding interactions.
    Inspired by the studies describing non-covalent interactions in Ir-catalyzed borylation chemistry,
    we envisaged a charge-controlled meta-C–H activation using Pd catalysis, which would introduce a unique means of controlling regioselectivities in Pd-catalyzed C–H activation that to the best of our knowledge has not been described in the literature.
    Scheme 1. Design of the charge-controlled site-selective C–H activation

    See the science paper for instructive material with images.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Kiel University [ Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel ] (DE) was founded back in 1665. It is Schleswig-Holstein’s oldest, largest and best-known university, with over 26,000 students and around 3,000 members of staff. It is also the only fully-fledged university in the state. Seven Nobel prize winners have worked here. The CAU has been successfully taking part in the Excellence Initiative since 2006. The Cluster of Excellence The Future Ocean, which was established in cooperation with the GEOMAR [Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel](DE) in 2006, is internationally recognized. The second Cluster of Excellence “Inflammation at Interfaces” deals with chronic inflammatory diseases. The Kiel Institute for the World Economy is also affiliated with Kiel University. The university has a great reputation for its focus on public international law. The oldest public international law institution in Germany and Europe – the Walther Schuecking Institute for International Law – is based in Kiel.


    The University of Kiel was founded under the name Christiana Albertina on 5 October 1665 by Christian Albert, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp. The citizens of the city of Kiel were initially quite sceptical about the upcoming influx of students, thinking that these could be “quite a pest with their gluttony, heavy drinking and their questionable character” (German: mit Fressen, Sauffen und allerley leichtfertigem Wesen sehr ärgerlich seyn). But those in the city who envisioned economic advantages of a university in the city won, and Kiel thus became the northernmost university in the German Holy Roman Empire.

    After 1773, when Kiel had come under Danish rule, the university began to thrive, and when Kiel became part of Prussia in the year 1867, the university grew rapidly in size. The university opened one of the first botanical gardens in Germany (now the Alter Botanischer Garten Kiel), and Martin Gropius designed many of the new buildings needed to teach the growing number of students.

    The Christiana Albertina was one of the first German universities to obey the Gleichschaltung in 1933 and agreed to remove many professors and students from the school, for instance Ferdinand Tönnies or Felix Jacoby. During World War II, the University of Kiel suffered heavy damage, therefore it was later rebuilt at a different location with only a few of the older buildings housing the medical school.

    In 2019, it was announced it has banned full-face coverings in classrooms, citing the need for open communication that includes facial expressions and gestures.


    Faculty of Theology
    Faculty of Law
    Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences
    Faculty of Medicine
    Faculty of Arts and Humanities
    Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
    Faculty of Agricultural Science and Nutrition
    Faculty of Engineering

  • richardmitnick 10:53 pm on January 23, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Scientists Unveil Least Costly Carbon Capture System to Date", , , Chemistry, ,   

    From The DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: “Scientists Unveil Least Costly Carbon Capture System to Date” 

    From The DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

    Brendan Bane

    The need for technology that can capture, remove and repurpose carbon dioxide grows stronger with every CO2 molecule that reaches Earth’s atmosphere. To meet that need, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have cleared a new milestone in their efforts to make carbon capture more affordable and widespread. They have created a new system that efficiently captures CO2—the least costly to date [Journal of Cleaner Production (below)]—and converts it into one of the world’s most widely used chemicals: methanol.

    Graphical abstract
    Download : Download high-res image (311KB)
    Download : Download full-size image

    Snaring CO2 before it floats into the atmosphere is a key component in slowing global warming. Creating incentives for the largest emitters to adopt carbon capture technology, however, is an important precursor. The high cost of commercial capture technology is a longstanding barrier to its widespread use.

    PNNL scientists believe methanol can provide that incentive. It holds many uses as a fuel, solvent, and an important ingredient in plastics, paint, construction materials and car parts. Converting CO2 into useful substances like methanol offers a path for industrial entities to capture and repurpose their carbon.

    A new integrated cost-effective carbon capture and conversion system.
    Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have created the most affordable carbon dioxide capture and conversion system to date, bringing the cost to capture CO2 down to $39 per metric ton. The process takes flue gas from power plants, uses a PNNL-patented solvent to strip out CO2, then converts the CO2 into industrially-useful methanol.

    PNNL chemist David Heldebrant, who leads the research team behind the new technology, compares the system to recycling. Just as one can choose between single-use and recyclable materials, so too can one recycle carbon.

    “That’s essentially what we’re trying to do here,” said Heldebrant. “Instead of extracting oil from the ground to make these chemicals, we’re trying to do it from CO2 captured from the atmosphere or from coal plants, so it can be reconstituted into useful things. You’re keeping carbon alive, so to speak, so it’s not just ‘pull it out of the ground, use it once, and throw it away.’ We’re trying to recycle the CO2, much like we try to recycle other things like glass, aluminum and plastics.”

    As described in the journal Advanced Energy Materials [below], the new system is designed to fit into coal-, gas-, or biomass-fired power plants, as well as cement kilns and steel plants. Using a PNNL-developed capture solvent, the system snatches CO2 molecules before they’re emitted, then converts them into useful, sellable substances.

    A long line of dominoes must fall before carbon can be completely removed or entirely prevented from entering Earth’s atmosphere. This effort—getting capture and conversion technology out into the world—represents some of the first few crucial tiles.

    Deploying this technology will reduce emissions, said Heldebrant. But it could also help stir the development of other carbon capture technology and establish a market for CO2-containing materials. With such a market in place, carbon seized by anticipated direct air capture technologies could be better reconstituted into longer-lived materials.

    The call for cheaper carbon capture

    In April 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its Working Group III report focused on mitigating climate change. Among the emissions-limiting measures outlined, carbon capture and storage was named as a necessary element in achieving net zero emissions, especially in sectors that are difficult to decarbonize, like steel and chemical production.

    “Reducing emissions in industry will involve using materials more efficiently, reusing and recycling products and minimizing waste,” the IPCC stated in a news release issued alongside one of the report’s 2022 installments. “In order to reach net zero CO2 emissions for the carbon needed in society (e.g., plastics, wood, aviation fuels, solvents, etc.),” the report reads, “it is important to close the use loops for carbon and carbon dioxide through increased circularity with mechanical and chemical recycling.”

    Taking up only as much space as a walk-in closet, a new carbon capture and conversion system is simple and efficient at removing carbon dioxide from gas that’s rich with carbon dioxide. On the left of this walk-in fume hood, “smoke” moves through a cylindrical container where it makes contact with a carbon-capturing solvent. That solvent chemically binds to carbon dioxide and, on the right, is converted to methanol. (Photo by Eric Francavilla | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

    PNNL’s research is focused on doing just that—in alignment with DOE’s Carbon Negative Shot. By using renewably sourced hydrogen in the conversion, the team can produce methanol with a lower carbon footprint than conventional methods that use natural gas as a feedstock. Methanol produced via CO2 conversion could qualify for policy and market incentives intended to drive adoption of carbon reduction technologies.

    Methanol is among the most highly produced chemicals in existence by volume. Known as a “platform material,” its uses are wide ranging. In addition to methanol, the team can convert CO2 into formate (another commodity chemical), methane and other substances.

    A significant amount of work remains to optimize and scale this process, and it may be several years before it is ready for commercial deployment. But, said Casie Davidson, manager for PNNL’s Carbon Management and Fossil Energy market sector, displacing conventional chemical commodities is only the beginning. “The team’s integrated approach opens up a world of new CO2 conversion chemistry. There’s a sense that we’re standing on the threshold of an entirely new field of scalable, cost-effective carbon tech. It’s a very exciting time.”

    Crumbling costs

    Commercial systems soak up carbon from flue gas at roughly $46 per metric ton of CO2, according to a DOE analysis. The PNNL team’s goal is to continually chip away at costs by making the capture process more efficient and economically competitive.

    The team brought the cost of capture down to $47.10 per metric ton of CO2 in 2021. A new study described in the Journal of Cleaner Production [below] explores the cost of running the methanol system using different PNNL-developed capture solvents, and that figure has now dropped to just below $39 per metric ton of CO2.

    Chemical engineer Yuan Jiang analyzed the operating costs of a new carbon capture and conversion system, finding it could do the job for about $39 per metric ton of carbon dioxide. (Photo by Andrea Starr | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

    “We looked at three CO2-binding solvents in this new study,” said chemical engineer Yuan Jiang, who led the assessment. “We found that they capture over 90 percent of the carbon that passes through them, and they do so for roughly 75 percent of the cost of traditional capture technology.”

    Different systems can be used depending on the nature of the plant or kiln. But, no matter the setup, solvents are central. In these systems, solvents wash over CO2-rich flue gas before it’s emitted, leaving behind CO2 molecules now bound within that liquid.

    Creating methanol from CO2 is not new. But the ability to both capture carbon and then convert it into methanol in one continuously flowing system is. Capture and conversion has traditionally occurred as two distinct steps, separated by each process’s unique, often non-complementary chemistry.

    “We’re finally making sure that one technology can do both steps and do them well,” said Heldebrant, adding that traditional conversion technology typically requires highly purified CO2. The new system is the first to create methanol from “dirty” CO2.

    Dialing down tomorrow’s emissions

    The process of capturing CO2 and converting it to methanol is not CO2-negative. The carbon in methanol is released when burned or sequestered when methanol is converted to substances with longer lifespans. But this technology does “set the stage,” Heldebrant said, for the important work of keeping carbon bound inside material and out of the atmosphere.

    Other target materials include polyurethanes, which are found in adhesives, coatings, and foam insulation, and polyesters, which are widely used in fabrics for textiles. Once researchers finalize the chemistry behind converting CO2 into materials that keep it out of the atmosphere for climate-relevant timescales, a wide web of capture systems could be poised to run such reactions.

    In lieu of today’s smokestacks, Heldebrant envisions CO2 refineries built into or alongside power plants, where CO2-containing products can be made on site. “We are at a turning point,” Heldebrant and his coauthors wrote in a recent article published in the journal Chemical Science [below], “where we can continue to use 20th century, monolithic capture and conversion infrastructure or we can begin the transition to a new 21st century paradigm of integrated solvent-based carbon capture and conversion technologies.”

    This technology is available for licensing. Please contact Sara Hunt, PNNL commercialization manager, to learn more.

    This work was supported by the Department of Energy’s Technology Commercialization Fund, the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, and Southern California Gas. Part of the work was performed at EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a DOE Office of Science user facility at PNNL.

    Journal of Cleaner Production
    Advanced Energy Materials
    Chemical Science
    See the above two science papers for instructive material with images.

    See the full article here.

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is one of the United States Department of Energy National Laboratories, managed by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The main campus of the laboratory is in Richland, Washington.

    PNNL scientists conduct basic and applied research and development to strengthen U.S. scientific foundations for fundamental research and innovation; prevent and counter acts of terrorism through applied research in information analysis, cyber security, and the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction; increase the U.S. energy capacity and reduce dependence on imported oil; and reduce the effects of human activity on the environment. PNNL has been operated by Battelle Memorial Institute since 1965.

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