Sustainable Engineering

Mark B. Shiflett

Distinguished Foundation Professor Mark B. Shiflett research interests include development of sustainable, energy efficient processes and products. Current examples include: ionic liquids, porous materials, and membranes for refrigerant separations, oxalate chemistry for recycling of critical metals, conversion of biomass into sustainable products, and porous materials for protein, antibody, and vaccine storage. Areas of specialization: gravimetric measurements, thermodynamic and transport modeling, reaction and separation engineering, safety, and undergraduate laboratory teaching and experimentation.

Mark Shiflett in his lab explaining equipment to unseen person

Bala Subramaniam

Distinguished Professor Bala Subramaniam, who directs the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis (CEBC), performs various catalysis research. Researchers at the CEBC are developing cost-competitive chemical manufacturing processes that prevent waste and conserve natural resources. CEBC's internationally recognized faculty members offer a novel mix of expertise in developing catalytic processes.

Bala Subramaniam standing in his research lab wearing safety glasses

Trung Van Nguyen

Prof. Trung Van Nguyen’s lab, the Fuel Cell/Batteries Test Lab, researches fuel cells and flow batteries for large scale energy storage for renewable sources like wind and solar. Dr. Nguyen is international recognized as one of the top researchers in this field, and he has presented his research all around the globe.

Trung Nguyen along with a journal cover from Advances in Fuel Cells and a lab picture

Susan M. Williams (Stagg-Williams)

The Stagg-Williams Group is focused on the conversion of biomass and specializes in the thermochemical conversion of algae and other organic material to produce fuels, chemicals, fertilizers, catalysts, adsorbents, and other value-added products. We also work with the production of biodiesel from a variety of feedstocks and collaborate with mechanical engineering to test fuel properties and engine performance. She is also the director of the KU Biodiesel Initiative which produces fuel and soap from used cooking oil and works to support biodiesel production in the State of Kansas.

KU biodiesel initiative truck

Aaron M. Scurto

Dr. Scurto research focuses on Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering.

Aaron Scurto

Ana Rita Morais

Dr. Morais' lab is called the Food, Energy, and Water Laboratory for Sustainability (FEWLS). Their mission is "to study and develop integrated technologies for producing sustainable food & feed products, fuels, chemicals, and potable freshwater for our future generations. Our ultimate goal is not to simply feed our curiosity. We thrive in creating, studying and developing technologies that are part of conceptual systems, which are optimized for environmental sustainability and economical profitability. We hope our holistic research approach can offer a clear difference to our society."

Ana Morais standing outside in front of a river

Laurence R. Weatherley

Distinguished Professor Laurence Weatherley focuses on green chemistry and is a process engineering specialist. His recent work has been in Process Intensification of Liquid-Liquid Processes. In particular, they are interested in intensifying both mass transfer rates and reaction rates by the application of both high voltage and low voltage electrical fields. Two liquid-liquid reaction systems forming our current focus are (1) Transfer hydrogenation reactions using a homogenous catalyst (2) Enzymatically catalyzed reactions in liquid-liquid systems, for example natural oils undergoing hydrolysis or interesterification. A closely related thread of my research is the study of immobilization of enzymes on to novel polymeric supports to optimize reaction performance with emulsified substrates.

Laurence Weatherley

Karen Nordheden

Dr. Nordheden's research interests are in the areas of plasma conversion, plasma diagnostics, and microfabrication. Our most recent project involves the plasma conversion of carbon dioxide to CO and O2. Plasma reactors are an attractive alternative to conventional conversion processes since the electrons and active species in the plasma can stimulate dissociation even when the bulk gas is near room temperature and at atmospheric pressure.

Karen Nordheden receiving the Chancellor's Club Award pictured with Doug Girod

Chemical Engineering Research to Meet Sustainability

Featuring Associate Professor Alan Allgeier, graduate students Victor Sharma, Simon Velasquez Morales, and Murilo Toldeko Suekuni.

Sustainable Products and Energy Efficient Processes Research

Featuring Distinguished Foundation Professor Mark B. Shiflett

Biodiesel Lab

Featuring Williams group members: Mary Sevart, Melvin Loo, and Kathryn Harlow.