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Professor Hongfei Lin's Group Catalysis for Sustainability Research


Research Areas

The research of Lin’s group is focused on coupling chemical processes with novel material systems for renewable energy and clean fuel production. The research is primarily a span of discovering new catalysts and advanced functional materials, as well as developing efficient and environmentally friendly chemical processes for energy and environmental applications.

The following diagram describes the research background and interests:
Venn Diagram showing three circles representing areas of research that overlap: Circle 1, Liquid Phase Catalysis (with image of molecules), overlaps Circle 2, Green Engineering and Processes (graphic of tree with light bulbs, sun, drops, power, bicycles, etc. as leaves), and where they overlap there is Energy; Circle 2, Green Engineering and Processes, overlaps Circle 3, Environmental Sustainability (with image of wind turbine, city, and world), and where they overlap there is Water; Circle 3, Environmental Sustainability, overlaps Circle 1, Green Engineering and Processes, and where they overlap there is Food; Where all three circles overlap there are Chemicals

Current Research

Valorization of CO2

Diagram showing Valorization of Carbon dioxide: 1. Carbon dioxide is absorbed by biomass; Biomass is taken to biorefinery; From biorefinery it can be transformed in a sequence – here are the sequences that it takes: Sequence 1: is transformed into Products (fuels, commodity chemicals and agricultural additives); Sequence 2: From the biorefinery, biogenic carbon dioxide is produced, it goes through carbon dioxide capture, then goes to Carbon dioxide storage; Sequence 3: Carbon dioxide capture, hydrogenation of amine captured carbon dioxide, formate, becomes products (fuels, commodity chemicals and agricultural additives); 2. Renewable energy (e.g. solar and wind) becomes renewable electricity, then through water electrolysis becomes renewable hydrogen, then hydrogenation of amine captured carbon dioxide, then formate, then becomes products (fuels, commodity chemicals and agricultural additives)

Renewable Energy Storage

Diagram illustrating Renewable Energy Storage: dihydrogen transformed to amine-formate, then to dihydrogen, then dihydrogen evolution, then amine-captured carbon dioxide, then back to dihydrogen

Valorization of Biomass

Flowchart illustrating three Valorization of Biomass processes – 1. Biphasic catalytic processes (3 types): Terpenoid biocrudes which are converted into cycloalkanes, high-density jet fuels, and high octane number fuel additives; Lipids, Algal oil, and Vegetable oil which are converted into renewable diesel and jet fuels; Lignocellulosic bio-oil with are converted into renewable gasoline and jet fuels; 2. Lewis Acid Catalysis process: Cellulose, hemicellulose and sugars are converted into alkyl lactates, green solvents, and biopolymers; 3. Transfer Hydrogenation: Furfural and oxygenates are converted into alkyl levulinate and fuel additives.