Side by side portraits of male and female professors
Jesús Velázquez (left) and Louise Berben, faculty in the Department of Chemistry, are taking part in a new research effort to develop basic science of capturing carbon dioxide and converting it to fuels and useful chemicals. (Meredith Forrest Kulwicki/University at Buffalo; Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

Multicampus Carbon Capture and Conversion Center Launched

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 led 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 more than $10 million from the DOE. 

Professors Jesús Velázquez and Louise Berben of the Department of Chemistry in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science 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 that 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 DOE, and she recently became director of the UC Office of the President project on Direct Conversion of Captured CO2 into Fuels and Chemicals.

The article originally appeared in the UC Davis Egghead research blog.

Learn more

UCI Chemists Receive $25 Million in Department of Energy Funding (UC Irvine)

DOE Announces $540 Million for Technologies to Transform Energy Production and Cut Emissions (U.S. Department of Energy)