News and Outreach


Purdue University will lead the Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources (CISTAR)


Purdue Catalysis Center Takes Part in 2017 Duke Energy Academy

Chemical Engineering graduate students Paulami Majumdar and Ravi Joshi, with the help of Professors Rajamani Gounder, Jeffrey Greeley and Volkan Ortalan (Materials Engineering), graduate student Shoumya Nandi (Materials Engineering), and undergraduate assistant Jenny Lindholm, led research projects and hands on activities related to catalysis and energy for a group of high school students and teachers from Indiana and Ohio as part of the 2017 Duke Energy Academy at Purdue on Wednesday, June 21, 2017.

The theme of the project was Catalysis for Energy Innovation, and was based on the well-received and educational project hosted through the Duke Energy Academy in 2016. The project featured a presentation, demonstrations, and hands-on activities to introduce the students to the theory and practice of catalysis. Paulami Majumdar, advised by Professor Greeley, explained how modern supercomputers allow researchers to study the atomic-level behavior of catalysts and how computational tools are combined with experimental studies to learn about the fundamental underpinnings of catalysis and chemistry. Ravi Joshi, who is advised by Professor Gounder, performed demonstrations of how catalysts work and how catalytic reactions are critical to fuel cell technology.

A group of 11 high school students and 4 high school teachers worked with a transmission electron microscope (TEM) at Purdue’s Birck Nanotechnology Center to see how this powerful instrument allows imaging individual atoms on the surface of a catalyst. The students also utilized their research skills by assembling and testing an ethanol fuel cell. By experimenting with solutions containing different amounts of fuel and water or with fuel solutions of different temperature, the students observed how fuel concentration and temperature affect the power output from the fuel cell, which is an important concept in both chemical kinetics and electrocatalysis.

Videos from the 2017 Duke Energy Academy Event:

High school students and teachers performing the ethanol fuel cell activity

Ravi Joshi performing the Pt catalyst H2-O2 combustion demonstration

Q&A and discussion at the end of the introductory presentation


Purdue Catalysis Center Member Receives Poster Presentation Award at the Chicago Catalysis Club

Yu-Hsuan Lee from Professor Jeffrey Greeley's group received one of the three Best Poster awards (out of 43 total posters) for her poster on "First-Principles Calculations of Propane Dehydrogenation on PtZn Alloy Surfaces" at this year's Chicago Catalysis Club Spring Symposium.




Purdue Catalysis Center Member Receives Poster Presentation Award at the Michigan Catalysis Society

Michael Cordon from Professor Rajamani Gounder's group received the best poster presentation award at the 2017 Michigan Catalysis Society Spring Symposium on May 2, 2017 for his poster on "Catalytic Consequences of Hydrophobic Pockets Confining Lewis Acid Sites in Zeolites for Aqueous-Phase Sugar Isomerization".




Purdue Catalysis Center Takes Part in 2016 Duke Energy Academy

Chemical Engineering graduate students Tej Choksi, Phil Kester and Ravi Joshi, with the help of Professors Rajamani Gounder, Jeffrey Greeley and Volkan Ortalan (Materials Engineering), graduate student Chang Wan (Materials Engineering), and undergraduate assistant Hasson Richardson, led research projects and hands on activities related to catalysis and energy for a group of high school students and teachers from Indiana and Ohio as part of the 2016 Duke Energy Academy at Purdue on Wednesday, June 22, 2016.

The theme of the project was Catalysis for Energy Innovation and featured a presentation, demonstrations, and hands-on activities to introduce the students to the theory and practice of catalysis. Tej Choksi, advised by Professor Greeley, explained how modern supercomputers allow researchers to study the atomic-level behavior of catalysts and how computational tools are combined with experimental studies to learn about the fundamental underpinnings of catalysis and chemistry. Ravi Joshi, who is advised by Professor Gounder, performed demonstrations of how catalysts work and how catalytic reactions are critical to fuel cell technology.

A group of 11 high school students and 4 high school teachers worked with a transmission electron microscope (TEM) at Purdue’s Birck Nanotechnology Center to see how this powerful instrument allows imaging individual atoms on the surface of a catalyst. The students also utilized their research skills by assembling and testing an ethanol fuel cell. By experimenting with solutions containing different amounts of fuel and water or with fuel solutions of different temperature, the students observed how fuel concentration and temperature affect the power output from the fuel cell, which is an important concept in both chemical kinetics and electrocatalysis.

The day ended with an hour-long lecture and hands-on activity with the entire Duke Energy Academy group of 42 high school students and 42 high school teachers. Participants learned about how to design catalyst surfaces to promote reactions, using hydrogen peroxide synthesis from hydrogen and oxygen as an example of “green” chemistry. Students and teachers were able to use ball-and-stick models of different atoms and surface facets of a platinum catalyst, together with theory calculations, to observe how specific locations (binding sites) on the catalyst surface are important to performing a reaction and how theoretical models can help guide the discovery of new catalytic materials.

Photos from the 2016 Duke Energy Academy Event

Assistant Professor Rajamani Gounder introduces students to the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen gas.


Graduate student Ravi Joshi demonstrates how a platinum catalyst can increase the rate of reaction between H2 and O2.


TEM instrument at the Burke Nanotechnology Center toured by high school students.



Purdue Catalysis Center Member Receives Poster Presentation Award at the Chicago Catalysis Club Spring Symposium

Congratulations to Paulami Majumdar from Professor Jeffrey Greeley's group on recieving one of the three Best Poster awards (out of 40 total posters) for her poster on "Scaling Properties of Adsorption Energies at Au/MgO Interface: A Density Functional theory Analysis" at this year's Chicago Catalysis Club Spring Symposium.

In addition, Zhenwei Wu from Professor Jeffrey Miller's group also gave an oral presentation on "Pd-In Intermetallic Alloy Nanoparticles: High Selective Ethane Dehydrogenation Catalysts".




Purdue Catalysis Center Member Receives Oral Presentation Award at the Michigan Catalysis Society

Viktor Cybulskis from Professor Fabio Ribeiro's group received the best oral presentation award at the 2016 Michigan Catalysis Society Spring Symposium for his talk on "The Role of the Support for Pt Catalysts during the Water-Gas Shift Reaction".




Purdue Catalysis Center Hosts Outreach Event for Over 32 Local 6th to 8th Grade Students

In collaboration with Purdue’s Women in Engineering Program, the Purdue Catalysis Center (PCC) hosted 32 local 6th to 8th grade students on October 20th and November 3rd for the fall 2015 Innovation to Reality (I2R) program with the theme "Energized Engineering for the Environment".

Participants learned about how catalysts are used in environmentally friendly processes, such as the conversion of chemical energy to electrical energy in an ethanol fuel cell as well as the epoxidation of propylene with hydrogen peroxide, which is an environmentally-benign ("green") oxidant. The students also participated in hands-on laboratory activities with model ethanol fuel cells and measured rates of hydrogen peroxide decomposition in the Fundamentals Laboratory in the Forney Hall of Chemical Engineering. Additionally, student participants toured the PCC research laboratories where they learned about the instruments used to study catalytic reactions and about how catalysts are used to treat diesel engine exhaust with the aid of a cut-out display of an actual catalytic converter, provided courtesy of Johnson-Matthey.

The event was led by PCC graduate students Viktor Cybulskis and Phil Kester along with Prof. Rajamani Gounder. PCC graduate students Jason Bates, Jonatan Albarracin, Michael Cordon, Ravi Joshi, Ishant Khurana, Arthur Shih, Juan Carlos Vega-Vila, and Rob Warburton facilitated the hands-on activities and lab tours.

Photos from the Engineering FYI Outreach Event

Graduate student Juan Carlos Vega-Vila introduces students to zeolite materials.


Assistant Professor Rajamani Gounder supervises a student while she measures the rate of hydrogen peroxide decomposition.



Purdue Catalysis Center Members Receive Oral Presentation Awards

First, second, and honorable mention awards were given for the best oral presentions at the 2015 Purdue Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Organization Symposium.

  • Viktor Cybulskis recieved the 1st-place award for his talk on "Understanding the surface chemistry on supported metal catalysts via the water-gas shift reaction".
  • Atish Parekh received the 2nd-place award for his talk on "Copper Speciation and Nature of the Active Site for Ammonia Standard Selective Catalytic Reduction in Cu/SSZ-13".
  • John Degenstein receieved an honorable mention award for his talk on "Fast-Pyrolysis of Cellobiose: A Novel Approach to Experimental Study and Modeling".



  • Purdue Catalysis Center hosts outreach event for over 100 junior high students

    The latest Purdue Catalysis Center (PCC) outreach activity, in partnership with the Purdue Women In Engineering Program, took place on Saturday, July 11, 2015 in the Forney Hall Fundamentals Laboratory and Henson Atrium. The event, Engineering FYI: For Your Imagination, provided a day-long program of activities to more than 100 junior high students and their parents, designed to increase interest in engineering among rising 7-9th grade students. PCC members provided an engaging day of activities that showed how catalysis is important to medicine, energy, the environment, and everyday life.

    In the Henson Atrium, the students observed a presentation describing the basics of catalysis and several chemistry and catalysis demonstrations, and performed hands-on experiments with ethanol and hydrogen fuel cells that illustrated concepts in renewable energy sources. In the Fundamentals Laboratory in Forney Hall, the students measured hydrogen peroxide decomposition rates with a liquid sodium iodide catalyst, and learned how reactant concentration influenced the reaction rate, which is a basic concept in catalysis. The decomposition of hydrogen peroxide is a reaction that also is catalyzed by enzymes (biological catalysts) to breakdown harmful metabolic byproducts in humans and living organisms.

    Graduate student Viktor Cybulskis, who is co-advised by Professors Fabio H. Ribeiro and W. Nicholas Delgass, and assistant professor Raj Gounder developed and led the outreach event on behalf of the PCC. PCC graduate student researchers Jonatan Albarracin, Ravi Joshi, Ishant Khurana, Juan Carlos Vega-Vila; undergraduate researcher Jacklyn Hall; and visiting high school researcher Anahi Rostro supervised the hands-on activities and demonstrations.

    Photos from the Engineering FYI Outreach Event

    Assistant Professor Rajamani Gounder, graduate students Viktor Cybulskis, Jonatan Albarracin, Ravi Joshi, Ishant Khurana, Juan Carlos Vega-Vila, undergraduate Jacklyn Hall, and visiting high school research Anahi Rostero.


    Graduate student Ravi Joshi supervises students measuring hydrogen peroxide decomposition rates.


    Graduate student Jonatan Albarracin supervises students measuring hydrogen peroxide decomposition rates.



    PCC administers catalysis project for 2015 Duke Energy Academy at Purdue

    PCC graduate students Tej Choksi and Viktor Cybulskis, with the help of Professors Rajamani Gounder, Jeffrey Greeley and Volkan Ortalan (Materials Engineering), graduate students Derek Schwanz and Chang Wan, and undergraduate assistant Ana Carneiro, led a catalysis research project for a group of 10 high school students from Indiana and Ohio as part of the 2015 Duke Energy Academy at Purdue on Wednesday, June 24, 2015. The theme of the project was Catalysis for Energy Innovation and featured a presentation, demonstrations, and hands-on activities to introduce the students to the theory and practice of catalysis.

    Tej Choksi, advised by Professor Jeffrey Greeley, explained to the students how modern supercomputers enable researchers to understand the atomic-level behavior of catalysts and how these computational tools are used together with experimental studies to develop a fundamental understanding of catalytic chemistry. Viktor Cybulskis, who is co-advised by Professors Fabio Ribeiro and W. Nicholas Delgass, performed practical demonstrations of how a catalyst works and how catalytic reactions play vital roles in fuel cell technology.

    By working on a transmission electron microscope (TEM) at Purdue’s Birck Nanotechnology Center, the students were able to see how this powerful instrument can allow researchers to image individual atoms on the surface of a catalyst. Also, the students had a chance to utilize their research skills by assembling and testing an ethanol fuel cell. By experimenting with solutions containing different amounts of fuel and water or with fuel solutions of different temperature, the students observed how fuel concentration and temperature affect the power output from the fuel cell, which is an important concept in both chemical kinetics and electrocatalysis.

    Photos from the Duke Energy Academy

    Undergraduate assistant Ana Carneiro and Graduate student Viktor Cybulskis observe students performing experiments on ethanol fuel cells.


    A high school student participant measures the effect of ethanol concentration on the fuel cell performance.


    A high school student participant uses a multimeter to measure the voltage across the fuel cell.


    View of a fan powered by an ethanol fuel cell.



    Purdue Catalysis Center hosts I2R outreach event

    On Tuesday, April 14, 2015, the Purdue Catalysis Center (PCC) hosted an outreach event for the Innovation 2 Reality (I2R) program, which is organized by Purdue’s Women in Engineering program and provides after school engineering activities for local 6th – 8th grade students.

    The theme for the spring 2015 I2R session is Engineering the Frontiers of Medicine. PCC members provided an engaging, fun-filled evening of catalysis-related activities, which included a presentation, chemistry and catalysis demonstrations, hands-on experiments, and tours of Forney Hall research laboratories to the 36 middle school student participants in the I2R program. The students learned about how catalysis is vital to everyday life and medical applications, such as the use of noble metals in the synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients. In the Fundamentals Laboratory in Forney Hall, the students performed a hands-on experiment with the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide to study how reactant concentration affects the reaction rate, a basic concept in catalysis. The decomposition of hydrogen peroxide is a model reaction that also shows the students how enzymes (biological catalysts) work to breakdown harmful metabolic byproducts in living organisms. The students also learned about how catalysis can be used to protect the environment from pollutants emitted from diesel engines, with the aid of an actual catalytic converter with cutout displays provided by Johnson-Matthey.

    Graduate student Viktor Cybulskis, who is co-advised by Professors Fabio H. Ribeiro and W. Nicholas Delgass, and assistant professor Raj Gounder developed and led the outreach event on behalf of the PCC. Gabriela Nagy and Yury Zvinevich, along with five other PCC graduate student researchers (Jason Bates, Tej Choksi, Phil Kester, Paulami Majumdar, Zhenwei Wu), also helped supervise the lab tours, hands-on activities and demonstrations.


    Photos from the I2R Outreach Event

    Professor Rajamani Gounder observes students measuring H2O2 decomposition rates


    Graduate students Tej Choksi and Paulami Majumdar demonstrate how a catalytic converter works and what real catalysts look like using a cut-out display of a diesel catalytic converter, courtesy of Johnson Matthey


    Graduate student Viktor Cybulskis overlooks students experimenting with H2O2 decomposition


    Yury Zvinevich overlooks students performing experiments on H2O2 decomposition

    June 20, 2015 - Purdue Catalysis Center has spectacular showing at 24th NAM

    Fifteen members of the Purdue Catalysis Center (PCC) participated in the 24th North American Catalysis Society Meeting (NAM), which was held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from June 14 – 19 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Graduate students Tej Choksi, Yanran Cui, John Di Iorio, and Atish Parekh all received the prestigious Kokes Award.

    Fabio Ribeiro, R. Norris and Eleanor Shreve Professor of Chemical Engineering, kicked off the meeting with a keynote lecture on Characterization of the Active Site of PtM Bimetallic Catalysts for Aqueous Phase Reforming and the Water-Gas Shift Reaction. Additional PCC representation included oral presentations by graduate students Tej Choksi, Yanran Cui, Viktor Cybulskis, and Atish Parekh; post-doctoral fellows Zhenhua Zeng and Hyun-Tae Hwang; and Professor Jeffrey Greeley. Graduate students Jason Bates and John Di Iorio showcased their research during the poster session at the meeting.

    Professor Jeffrey Miller topped the list for the most authored papers at the 24th NAM with an astounding 20 oral and 6 poster presentations, followed by Fabio Ribeiro in second place with 15 conference papers. Fabio Ribeiro and Jeff Miller also held the top two spots at the 23rd NAM in Louisville, Kentucky (June 2013) with 20 and 18 conference papers, respectively.