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Catalysis and Biocatalysis


Tuesday, October 20, 2015


The goal of the Catalysis and Biocatalysis program is to drive innovation in the production of the myriad of goods and services that are derived from catalyst-driven reactions.  Research in this program encompasses a blend of fundamental, engineering research drivers that are interdisciplinary in nature.  Studies should focus on the catalysis of one or more use-inspired chemical reactions with products including fuels, energy, feedstocks, fine chemicals, bulk chemicals and specialized materials.  While proposals will be accepted in any of the above areas, an emphasis will be placed on proposals addressing the significant existing challenges in producing products for the service of mankind.

Proposals which receive funding in this program should include the following broad scopes:  catalyst synthesis, behavior and performance; kinetics and mechanisms of key catalytic reactions; catalysis at surfaces or in reactor process streams; synthesis and fabrication of component materials and catalyst composites; modeling and fundamental studies of a catalyst or catalytic process; and, catalyst performance assessment in relevant modes.

The future portfolio of catalysis projects will continue to emphasize:

  • Renewable energy-related catalysis: biomass conversion catalysis, electrocatalysis, and photocatalysis, involving energy interconversion devises or systems employing catalysts.
  • Catalytic activation and conversion of CO2, methane, and other C1 feedstocks (monetization of low value carbon).
  • Environmentally benign and sustainable catalytic chemical process alternatives.
  • Catalytic remediation of feedstocks, process streams, products or effluents.

Projects that are interdisciplinary in nature may be jointly funded with other CBET and NSF programs.

NOTE: Proposals centered on the enzymatic or inorganic catalysis aspect of the biomass or photocatalysis or electrocatalysis energy conversion process, or proposals that use catalysis as the main tool for interconversion, should be submitted to this program.  For proposals focusing on biological and genetic aspects, consider submitting to Biotechnology, Biochemical, and Biomass Engineering (CBET 1491).  If the proposal focuses on the reaction engineering aspects of the interconversion, submit to Process and Reaction Engineering (CBET 1403).  If the emphasis is on the renewable energy system as a whole, or the sustainable aspects of renewable energy, submit to Energy for Sustainability (CBET 7644).  Keep in mind that the involved program directors will review the submissions and may transfer your proposal to give it the best review situation.

Innovative proposals outside of these specific interest areas can be considered.  However, prior to submission, it is recommended that the PI contact the Program Director to avoid the possibility of the proposal being returned without review.

The duration of unsolicited awards is generally one to three years.  The typical award size for the program is around $110,000 per year.  Proposals requesting a substantially higher amount than this, without prior consultation with the Program Director, may be returned without review. 

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