Skip to main content

Chemical and Catalyst Science Projects

A photo of a large white tank the size of a water heater. Several metal fittings stick out of the sides of the tank. Thin tubes are attached to some of the fittings and lead to flow meters and other metal pipes.

Researchers use experimental data from this four-inch fluidized bed reactor to develop and validate gasification process models.

NREL uses chemical analysis to study biomass-derived products online during the conversion process. Catalysts are used in the thermochemical conversion process to convert tars (a byproduct of gasification) to syngas and to convert syngas to liquid transportation fuels.

Among the chemical and catalyst science projects at NREL are:

  • Catalyst Fundamentals
    NREL is working to develop and understand the performance of catalyst and sorbent-based systems for achieving efficient biomass-derived syngas cleanup using tar reforming catalysts, sulfur sorbents, and CO2 sorbent materials.

  • Fuel Synthesis Catalyst
    NREL and Dow Chemical Company are testing and refining a Dow mixed alcohol synthesis catalyst that will allow producers to economically convert biomass-derived syngas to ethanol. Partners: Dow Chemical Company and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

  • Syngas Quality for Mixed Alcohol Synthesis
    NREL is improving mixed alcohol synthesis catalyst productivity and selectivity and testing catalyst performance under realistic operating conditions. The goal is more robust catalysts and higher catalyst yields. Partner: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Learn about chemical and catalyst science capabilities.