Converting biomass to fuels, refining fossil fuels and manufacturing bulk and specialty chemicals all require energy. In fact, 40 percent of the energy consumed by the manufacturing sector goes to chemical manufacturing and processing.
INL researchers are developing novel catalytic processes that use far less energy than conventional methods. We also are exploring how chemical production could be integrated with energy production to make both more efficient.
Catalysis research at INL focuses on top energy-consuming chemicals, next-generation catalysts and process technologies. A specific area of interest is oxidative dehydrogenation of light alkanes for the production of ethylene and propylene. INL scientists and engineers have access to distinctive capabilities for catalyst synthesis, reaction testing, characterization, and modeling and simulation.
The cutting-edge TAP – or Temporal Analysis of Products – reactor at INL can help develop catalytic materials that consume far less energy and significantly reduced byproducts and waste. Researchers can examine individual reaction steps of a complex catalytic mechanism. Understanding how a material's composition can be used to direct a desired reaction sequence fosters the ability to design advanced catalysts to deliver a specific product or chemical. The TAP reactor is located in the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, a public research facility that can be accessed by government, academic or industrial researchers.