The Holewinski group is focused on efficient, renewable, and environmentally benign catalytic processes for the production of energy, as well as commodity and fine chemicals. We have particular interest in electrochemical routes—i.e. the direct interconversion between electrical energy and the energy of chemical bonds. Emphasis is placed on fundamental characterization of interactions between molecules and (electro)catalytic surfaces to understand reaction mechanisms for the design and optimization of next-generation catalysts. Broadly, we employ molecular-level insights from detailed kinetic analysis, quantum chemical calculations, and spectroscopic observations of reactive species and catalyst structures to discern the chemistry and physics relevant to catalyst performance. These insights enable informed, targeted catalyst synthesis strategies to attain ideal structures and compositions that facilitate desirable transformations.
CHEN 3660 - Energy Fundamentals
Explains the most important energy technologies and systems; provides tools to analyze performance using science and engineering principles. This course will investigate important energy concepts from sources and extraction to utilization, storage and efficiency. Topics include fossil fuels, hydropower, renewable energy, biofuels, carbon capture and waste disposal.
CHEN 4521 - Physical Chemistry for Engineers
Spring 2018 / Spring 2019
Examines the laws of classical thermodynamics followed by physical transformations of pure substances, the thermodynamics of simple mixtures and chemical equilibrium. Applies quantum theory to atomic and molecular structure. Presents the concepts and applications of statistical thermodynamics. Introduces rates of chemical reactions, reaction dynamics and catalysis.
CHEN 5390 - Chemical Reactor Engineering
Fall 2019 / Fall 2020 / Spring 2021 / Fall 2021
Studies ideal and nonideal chemical reactors, including unsteady state behavior, mixing effects, reactor stability, residence time distribution and diffusion effects. Department enforced prerequisite: undergraduate course in chemical reactor design/kinetics.