JOAN F. BRENNECKE
Joan F. Brennecke, the Keating-Crawford Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, knows one direction: forward. As one of the world's top researchers in the field of ionic liquids (ILs), she and her team have been pursuing a more effective way to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from power plant flue gas than is currently available. This is important because much of the energy produced in the United States relies on burning fossil fuels, which releases CO2 into the atmosphere.
Her group has successfully developed an IL that is solid at operating conditions but turns to liquid in the presence of CO2, significantly reducing the energy burden of the process to 23% of the energy produced. Other projects include the use of ILs for refrigerants, the electrochemical reduction of CO2, the separation of organic compounds, and as electrolytes in Lithium-ion batteries and super capacitors. It is clear that ILs offer plenty of opportunities to solve specific energy problems, covering a range of particular gases as well as temperature and pressure conditions for a variety of industries, and improve the impact on the environment without negatively affecting an industry’s bottom line.