Multicampus Carbon Capture and Conversion Center Launched

On left, head and shoulders of a smiling man with short dark hair and a short beard wearing a blue sports coat with open collar shirt; on right, head and shoulders of a smiling woman with long brown hair wearing a brown sweater.
Jesús Velázquez, assistant professor of chemistry and Louise Berben, professor of chemistry are taking part in a new program to research converting carbon dioxide to fuels and chemicals. The project, led by UC Irvine, is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Two UC Davis chemistry professors are part of a new multicampus center aimed at developing basic science for converting carbon dioxide into fuels and chemicals. The Center for Closing the Carbon Cycle, 4C, is lead by Professor Jenny Yang at UC Irvine and involves investigators from 12 universities along with three U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories. The center is funded with a grant of over $10 million from the Department of Energy. 

Professors Jesús Velázquez and Louise Berben in the UC Davis Department of Chemistry are both part of the center's catalysis thrust, which is led by Berben. This thrust explores new catalysts which will convert captured carbon dioxide into fuels and chemicals. 

Velázquez's group will synthesize 2D and 3D metal chalcogenide materials and characterize their functional properties as catalysts. Berben's group will target atomically defined nanomaterial catalysts which model the surface chemistry and reactivity of the extended solid catalysts. Both researchers are involved in new catalyst synthesis and characterization and extensive collaborations within the center.

Both Velázquez and Berben have track records in carbon dioxide conversion to fuels which will guide their future efforts within 4C. Velázquez has projects on the synthesis, characterization, and electrochemical functionality testing of solid-state materials funded by the National Science Foundation and the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. Berben has worked in carbon dioxide mitigation for fuels production with funding from the Solar Photochemistry program of the Department of Energy, and she recently became director of the UC Office of the President project on Direct Conversion of Captured CO2 into Fuels and Chemicals.

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