Heterogeneous Catalysis for Thermochemical Conversion

Our mission is to transform thermal mass deconstruction products (syngas and pyrolysis oil) into the fuels and chemicals that keep society moving forward.

Woman working among equipment in a laboratory.

Featured Publications

An Exceptionally Mild and Scalable Solution-Phase Synthesis of Molybdenum Carbide Nanoparticles for Thermocatalytic CO2 Hydrogenation Journal of the American Chemical Society (2020)

Methanol to High-Octane Gasoline within a Market-Responsiverefinery Concept Enabled by Catalysis, Nature Catalysis (2019)

Tailoring Dieselblendstock from Integrated Catalytic Upgrading of Carboxylic Acids: A "Fuel Property First" Approach, Green Chemistry (2019)

Full Publications List

Molecular, atomic, and nanoscale images of catalysts

Design and Synthesis

Our innovative synthesis techniques have led to the discovery of new catalytic materials, including diverse nanoparticle architectures.

Model of Cu-modified beta zeolite, TEM image of catalyst and FTIR spectrum for pyridine adsorption


We characterize the physical and chemical properties of solid catalysts with emphasis on active site functionality using state-of-the-art techniques.

Model catalyst surface with graphs showing catalyst conversion and product yield

Testing and Scale-Up

Our evaluation of catalyst performance in reactors at multiple scales identifies top-performing materials and informs the design and operation of pilot plants.

Model catalyst surface with adsorbed intermediates relevant to reactions in guaiacol upgrading

Computational Studies

We use first-principles-based reaction energetics coupled with kinetic models to predict catalyst performance under realistic reaction conditions.

Research Team

Group photo of the Heterogeneous Catalysis for Thermochemical Conversion team

Principal Investigators

Photo of Frederick Baddour

Frederick G. Baddour

Inorganic and Nanomaterials Chemist, Research Scientist


Photo of Carrie Farberow

Carrie Farberow

Group Manager, Catalyst Design and Synthesis


Photo of Dan Ruddy

Dan Ruddy

Inorganic and Materials Chemist, Senior Scientist


Photo of Matt Yung

Matt Yung

Group Manager, Catalytic Process Development



Davis Conklin

Gabriella Lahti

Matt Jankousky

Sarah Paleg

Daniela Stuck

Mayank Behl, Intel Corporation

Kayla Brady, LiquidPower Specialty Products, Inc.

Patrick Coan

Abdoulaye Diallo, Physician Assistant School

Glen Ferguson

Whitney Jablonski, S&P 500

Nicole Libretto

Martin Menart

Eric Nelson, Applied Control Equipment

Mary O'Connor

Ming Pan, BASF

Glenn Powell, NREL Energy Systems Integration

Radhika Rao, Evonik

Allison Robinson, NREL

Alex Stanton, Orbital ATK

Trenton Wilke, Sironix Renewables

Vanessa Witte, Genscape

Mengze Xu, PNNL


Argonne National Laboratory

Colorado School of Mines

Georgia Institute of Technology

Johnson Matthey

University of Colorado, Boulder

University of Kansas

University of Michigan

University of Southern California

Funding for this program is provided by the energy Technologies Office, a division of DOE's EERE Office, as well as NREL's Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program. We are grateful for their ongoing support.