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Heterogeneous Catalysis for Thermochemical Conversion

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

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 people standing in a field of natural grasses.

Principal Investigators

Photo of Frederick Baddour

Frederick G. Baddour

Inorganic and Nanomaterials Chemist, Research Scientist

Email | 303-384-6703

Photo of Jack Ferrell

Jack Ferrell

Research Engineer

Email | 303-384-7777

Photo of Susan Habas

Susan Habas

Senior Scientist

Email | 303-384-6374

Photo of Jesse E. Hensley

Jesse Hensley

Supervisor – Thermochemical Catalysis R&D Supervisor

Email | 303-384-7914

Photo of David Johnson

David Johnson

Project Lead, Catalytic Upgrading of Sugars

Email | 303-384-6263

Photo of Kim Magrini

Kim Magrini

Catalysis and Thermochemical Sciences Group Manager, Principal Scientist

Email | 303-384-7706

Photo of Mark R. Nimlos

Mark Nimlos

Principal Scientist

Email | 303-384-7704

Photo of Dan Ruddy

Dan Ruddy

Inorganic and Materials Chemist, Senior Scientist

Email | 303-384-6322

Photo of Joshua Schaidle

Josh Schaidle

Thermochemical Conversion Platform lead, Research Engineer

Email | 303-384-7823

Photo of Matt Yung

Matt Yung

Senior Engineer, Catalysis & Reaction Engineering

Email | 303-384-7771

Patrick Coan

Nicole Libretto

Sarah Paleg

Matt Jankousky

Mayank Behl, Intel Corporation

Kayla Brady, LiquidPower Specialty Products, Inc.

Abdoulaye Diallo, Physician Assistant School

Glen Ferguson

Gary Grim, NREL Bioenergy Techno-Economic, Sustainability, and Market Analysis

Whitney Jablonski, S&P 500

Martin Menart

Eric Nelson, Applied Control Equipment

Mary O'Connor

Ming Pan, BASF

>Glenn Powell, NREL Energy Systems Integration

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 Bioenergy 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.