The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a $2 million grant to a chemical and biomolecular engineering professor at the University of Notre Dame. The funding will support Joan Brennecke’s research that the university says could "fundamentally change the way the country uses and produces energy."
Specifically, the studies will focus on how salt in a liquid state can improve the carbon dioxide capture process.
Brennecke believes these ionic liquids could be a "pivotal component" of a system to collect combustion-generated CO2 and mitigate its impact on the environment. Notre Dame says "the liquids have the potential to efficiently capture CO2 from the flue gas of coal-fired plants, as demonstrated in 2004 by a research team led by Brennecke and Edward J. Maginn, Dorini Family Professor of Energy Studies and department chair of chemical and biomolecular engineering, as part of a project sponsored by the DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory."
Brennecke is known throughout the world for research in the development of solvents. In 2012, she was elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Brennecke holds degrees from the University of Texas and the University of Illinois and has been part of the Notre Dame faculty since 1989.