One of the greatest challenges of the 21st century is to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions without compromising quality of life for a growing population. The Kanan Lab is working to enable this transition by developing catalysts and chemical reactions that recycle CO2 into fuels and commodity chemicals using renewable energy sources. At a fundamental level, we seek to understand how to design and control the structure of materials to maximize their performance and durability in CO2 conversions. We integrate these studies with reactor engineering and the design of new process concepts. One recent application of our work is a new chemical process to convert CO2 and a chemical derived from agricultural waste into a plastic that has improved physical properties compared to conventional petrochemical plastics. To complement work in CO2 conversion, we are also developing methods to permanently remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
- Environmental Mentor, Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, 2016.
- Talented 12, Chemistry & Engineering News, 2015.
- Teacher-Scholar Award, Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, 2014.
- Li, C. S., Frankhouser, A. D. & Kanan, M. W. (2022) Carbonate-catalyzed reverse water-gas shift to produce gas fermentation feedstocks for renewable liquid fuel synthesis. Cell Reports Physical Science, 3(9), 101021. DOI: 10.1016/j.xcrp.2022.101021.
- Mariano, R. G., Kang, M., Wahab, O. J., McPherson, I. J., Rabinowitz, J. A., Unwin, P. R. & Kanan, M. W. (2021) Microstructural origin of locally enhanced CO2 electro reduction activity on gold. Nature Materials, 20(7), 1000-1006. DOI: 10.1038/s41563-021-00958-9.
- Banerjee, A., Dick, G. R., Yoshino, T. & Kanan, M. W. (2016) Carbon dioxide utilization via carbonate-promoted C–H carboxylation. Nature, 531(7593), 215-219. DOI: 10.1038/nature17185.
CIFAR is a registered charitable organization supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta and Quebec, as well as foundations, individuals, corporations and Canadian and international partner organizations.