Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame

Sustainable Bio/Fossil Fuels



Biomass, a renewable form of energy, is derived from plants or organic matter that are currently growing on Earth. The biomass is converted to produce fuels, chemicals, and heat for various applications. Fossil fuels, such as crude oil, coal, and natural gas, all have their origin in organic matter produced by life forms in the geologic past, and are not renewable. It is the combustion of fossil fuels that has caused the dramatic increase in carbon dioxide levels in the modern atmosphere. Fossil fuels dominate the energy landscape now and for the foreseeable future. The greatest challenge is sustainable ways to use them, which in many cases come down to effective separations.

ND Energy develops mass separating agents, which take advantage of materials selectivity rather than energy, to perform separations. These new materials are engineered using an integrated research and engineering strategy combining theory and molecular simulations to provide design rules that guide the synthesis and characterization of novel materials (inorganic, organic, and hybrids). These materials will ultimately be incorporated into devices, engineered, and tested for specific energy applications.


Subcategories: Biofuels, Carbon Sequestration, Fossil Fuels

Faculty Involved: Brandon Ashfeld, Joan Brennecke, Melissa Berke, Paul Bohn, Ian Carmichael, Steven Corcelli, Kenneth Christensen, Thomas Degnan, Haifeng Gao, Ruilan Guo, Jason Hicks, Vlad Iluc, Edward Maginn, Mark McCready, Abigail Mechtenberg, Robert Nerenberg, Joe Powers, William Schneider, Mark Stadtherr, Na Wei, Olaf Wiest, Eduardo Wolf