University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Go to chemistry home page.


DOE fellowship aids Cammarota's carbon dioxide research

Ryan Cammarota has received a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Student Research award. He is a fourth-year graduate student working for Professor Connie Lu.

The goal of the Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program is to prepare graduate students for science, technology, engineering, or mathematics careers critically important to the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, by providing graduate thesis research opportunities at DOE laboratories. The SCGSR program provides supplemental awards to outstanding graduate students to pursue part of their graduate thesis research at a DOE laboratory. The research opportunity is expected to advance the graduate students’ overall doctoral thesis while providing access to the expertise, resources, and capabilities available at those laboratories.

Ryan’s general research interests are focused on on developing bimetallic complexes for the cooperative activation and catalytic conversion of small molecules including H2, olefins, and CO2. The specific research proposal for this fellowship pertains to the study of bimetallic catalysts featuring strong Ni→M(III) (M=Ga, In) dative bonds in which the supporting metal stabilizes highly reactive anionic Ni-H species that catalyze CO2 reduction to formate.

In collaboration with Aaron Appel, Ph.D., Morris Bullock, Ph.D., and their team at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA, Ryan will be learning about high-pressure nuclear magnetic resonance techniques and thermodynamic benchmarking of the active Ni-H species. This will be utilized to aid in mechanistic understanding of CO2 reduction, and the system  will be adapted to allow for efficient electrocatalysis.

The fellowship provides a monthly stipend $3,000 for Ryan to conduct his research with the scientists at PNNL for three months.