Kent Warren, Postdoctoral Associate – Weimer Lab
Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021
2:45 p.m., JSCBB A108
"Sunlight, Water, Carbon Dioxide and Rust: Ingredients for the Transition to a Sustainable Energy Future"
The conversion of intermittent solar radiation into storable and transportable chemical fuels can enable access to sustainable feedstocks and dispatchable sources of power, regardless of geographic location. Of particular interest is technologies that facilitate the endothermic dissociation of water and carbon dioxide while utilizing heat that is obtained via concentrating optics and/or renewable sources of electricity. If coupled with established catalytic processes like Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, product hydrogen and carbon monoxide can be converted to various liquid hydrocarbons (e.g., diesel) and organic oxygenates (e.g., methanol) that are free of nitrogen- and sulfur-containing impurities. For industries that rely on chemical fuels produced through conventional means (i.e., coal gasification, methane reforming, etc.), solar-driven gas-to-liquid technologies offer a viable alternative that can reduce dependence on diminishing fossil energy resources and thus mitigate associated greenhouse gas emissions. Among these technologies, solar thermochemical fuel production – a method that relies on the oxygen-exchange capacity of metal oxides to split water and/or carbon dioxide – is one of the most promising. In this talk, I discuss recent efforts in locating and characterizing a class of metal oxides that, as compared to the state-of-the-art, exhibit superior performance under (less favorable) conditions expected in large-scale systems.
Kent Warren is a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. He has a background in mechanical engineering, earning his BS in 2015 from Valparaiso University and his PhD in 2019 from the University of Florida. His research focuses on fundamental aspects of solid-state ionics and thermal sciences in relation to sustainable energy conversion and storage. In particular, his undergraduate, graduate, and now postgraduate work has involved examining the use of concentrated solar energy as a source of high-quality heat for the production of value-added commodities. Warren also recently served as an Adjunct Professor in the College of Engineering at Valparaiso University.