Professor and Robert "Bud" Moeller Faculty Fellow
School of Chemical & Biomedical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology
Challenges in Developing Materials for Large-scale Energy Applications
Acid gases are pervasive in applications that span the oil and gas industry, the general chemicals industry, and the energy sector more broadly. Whether the target is natural gas upgrading, clean gas for solid oxide fuel cells, or flue gas treatment, advances in materials and methods for efficient and cost-effective removal of acid gases require a deep understanding of how materials adsorb, react, and behave in complex mixtures. Achieving this understanding necessitates the evaluation of sorbents, membranes, and catalysts in realistic, multicomponent mixtures. Unfortunately, academic research almost exclusively focuses on testing materials in highly idealized process streams, typically ignoring any potential contaminants. Multicomponent adsorption data are difficult to obtain, even for simple gas mixtures, but the inclusion of toxic gases such as H2S and SO2 adds several levels of complexity and difficulty to these types of measurements. Nevertheless, many future large-scale innovations in energy-intensive industries will require development or implementation of new materials that must operate under complex conditions. This presentation will discuss several challenges and “showstoppers” in developing novel materials for separations, with a particular focus on the impact of acid gases on adsorption behavior.
Krista S. Walton is Professor and Robert “Bud” Moeller Faculty Fellow in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech. She received her BSE in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama-Huntsville in 2000 and obtained her PhD in Chemical Engineering from Vanderbilt University in 2005, working with Prof. M. Douglas LeVan. Prof. Walton completed an ACS PRF Postdoctoral Fellowship at Northwestern University in 2006 under the direction of Prof. Randall Snurr. Her research program focuses on the design, synthesis, and characterization of functional porous materials for use in adsorption applications including CO2 capture and air purification. She has published > 90 peer-reviewed articles and presented dozens of plenary lectures and invited seminars. Prof. Walton currently serves as an Associate Editor for the ACS Journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, and is the Director and Lead PI of Georgia Tech’s DOE Energy Frontier Research Center, UNCAGE-ME. Prof. Walton’s accomplishments have been recognized by many prestigious awards, including the AIChE FRI/John G. Kunesh Award for Excellence in Separations Research (2016), the ACS Women Chemists Committee Rising Star Award (2015), the inaugural International Adsorption Society Award for Excellence in Publications by a Young Member of the Society (2013) and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2008).