(4at) Materials for Energy: From Catalytic to Nuclear Reactions
Addressing the world's future energy needs in the coming years will require both more efficient utilization of existing energy sources and development and/or expansion of current and new energy sources. This poster discusses two extremely interesting classes of materials relevant to energy applications. The first is zeolites: materials with inherent porosity on the length scale of small molecules. Zeolites revolutionized the petrochemicals industry when they were first introduced over fifty years ago, and we hope that recent attempts to react them with nitrogen to produce strongly basic catalysts for carbon-carbon bond formation will do the same for oxygenated feedstocks such as those derived from biomass. The second class of materials is plasma-facing materials, specifically those intended for the components of ITER and other nuclear fusion reactors. Nuclear fusion is, indirectly, the source of all energy we utilize every day, and harnessing it without the gravitational confinement present in stars is one of the greatest challenges humanity has ever striven to meet. Doing so will require materials, many of them perhaps yet to be discovered, that will survive the harsh environment of a nuclear fusion reaction.
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