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Institute for Integrated Catalysis

Facilities & Capabilities

At the Institute for Integrated Catalysis, we have access to resources that let us design and deploy sustainable and economically viable catalysts, materials, and knowledge critical to our nation. We access resources at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), universities, and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) scientific user facilities. With these resources, we take research from the nanoscale to the manufacturing scale.

Catalysis research at PNNL: We employ a broad range of experimental instrumentation available in-house for surface science and heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis studies. State-of-the-art characterization tools include a suite of electron microscopies and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) resources, including high temperature and high pressure capabilities. We deploy in-house and remote computational hardware and software for cutting-edge calculations, modeling, and simulations.


The IIC integrates state-of-the-art instruments and cutting-edge calculations, modeling, and simulation to design, synthesize, characterize, and deploy sustainable and economically viable catalysts with application to industry and transportation.

The Physical Sciences Laboratory at PNNL houses heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis capabilities. These include wet chemistry synthesis and characterization resources. Key features include the NMR suite and calorimetry labs. Further, the Combinatorial Catalyst Lab offers an integrated system for high-throughput catalyst experimentation.

electron microscope
The aberration-corrected and monochromated scanning/transmission electron microscope has the ability to image structural and chemical information for nanostructured materials, buried interfaces, catalysts, and minerals with very high spatial resolution.

EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a DOE scientific user facility, offers a broad range of collocated experimental resources. EMSL houses extensive surface science capabilities that allow for the design of model catalysts and supports, their atomically resolved imaging, and kinetic studies. Capabilities are also available for the synthesis of heterogeneous catalysts. For their atomic-level characterization, we employ a state-of-the-art electron microscopy suite, diffraction-based methods, and other spectroscopies. We conduct unique reaction kinetic measurements using the unique transient kinetic analysis apparatus. Extensive NMR resources provide advanced methods for spectroscopic characterization of heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysts as well as reaction kinetics studies. We employ computational capabilities to understand the details of catalyst structure and to unravel the steps in complex reaction mechanisms.

The 850-MHz wide-bore NMR offers researchers insights into electronic and molecular parameters of key catalysts.

We use resources for larger scale research. These include the Chemical Engineering Laboratory, Process Development Laboratory-East, Mobile Process Engineering and Demonstration Unit, a special facility available for onsite industrial testing of chemical processing systems. We also apply the Applied Process Engineering Laboratory (APEL). APEL is a tech business startup center with engineering and manufacturing scale space.

Washington State University: We employ resources in the Bioproducts, Sciences and Engineering Laboratory (BSEL), in Richland, WA. There, we synthesize, characterize, and test the reactivity processes for turning wheat straw and other biomass and renewable sources into fuels. In addition to chemistry laboratories and classrooms, we use the BSEL high bay for integrating and scaling processing steps for converting biomass to fuels and chemicals. Space is available for process engineering research and development.

Synchrotron Facilities: We apply resources at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. The experimental capabilities include in situ X-ray absorption fine structure, X-ray scattering, reflectivity, and imaging.

PNNL is a member of the Catalysis Consortium beamlines at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The new NSLS-II facility just became operational providing a state-of-the-art resources for synchrotron-based in situ/operando spectroscopy studies.

PNNL has a partnership with Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to develop a new beamline named the Advanced Materials Beamline for Energy Research (AMBER). The capabilities include in situ/in operando x-ray absorption near edge structure spectroscopy for solid-gas or solid-liquid interfaces relevant to catalysis, ambient pressure x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, scanning transmission x-ray microscopy, and, once fully operational, resonant inelastic x-ray scattering.

Additional resources at our collaborators' facilities: As a part of our close collaborations in catalysis, we also access resources at the University of California, Berkeley to synthesize and characterize the structure and function of designed catalysts and surfaces. At the University of Alabama, we engage computational resources to examine the structure of oxide clusters and the mechanisms of reactions. We have access to software and hardware to perform electronic structure calculations. We use a robust metadata management system that lets members of the IIC access any data generated through a command line or web-based graphic user interface.

Institute for Integrated Catalysis

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