(6ae) Mechanisms of Redox Catalysts for the Greener Processing of Shale Gas Via Chemical Looping

Neal, L., North Carolina State University
Postdoctoral Research Scholar


Research Interests:


The North American shale gas boom has stimulated renewed interest in producing value-added products from light hydrocarbons. Unfortunately, the traditional industrial approaches to produce chemicals and liquid fuels from shale gas components are energy-intensive and have severe environmental consequences. The primary challenges include: (i) selective activation of light, saturated hydrocarbons such as methane and ethane is very difficult; (ii) the production of high-enthalpy products or intermediates, such as hydrogen, requires significant external energy inputs. The push for improved, less polluting, more efficient energy conversion technologies has spurred increased interest in catalyst development. In my career, I hope to further the use of catalyst characterization techniques to applied catalysis to expand both fundamental knowledge, as well as tools for the rational design of energy-conversion catalysts. I have significant research experience in the fields of: redox catalyst for chemical looping; selective oxidation of light hydrocarbons; heterogeneous catalysis (Synthesis, Reaction testing, Characterization); platinum group catalyst formulation; surface/catalyst characterization techniques; ultra-high vacuum (UHV) system operation and maintenance; research scale reactor design, optimization, and operation.


Teaching Interests:

I have a strong interest in teaching fundamental chemical engineering subjects in addition to graduate and undergraduate courses closely related to my field (e.g. kinetics, catalysis/surface science). I also greatly enjoy training, mentoring, and collaborating with all levels of researchers down to undergraduates. In my postdoctoral work I have:

  • Mentored Ph.D. students that, to date, has led to one peer review publication, two articles under review, and two nearing submission;
  • Overseen interactions with facilities and environmental health and safety, and trained graduate students in best practices for laboratory safety and hazardous waste handling;
  • Assisted collaboration between graduate students in the Chemical Engineering and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Departments;
  • Successfully collaborated with graduate researchers in the Chemistry Department, leading to two high quality publications;
  • Directly trained and supervised multiple undergraduates in the lab and supervised experimental plans for three masterâ??s students.


Research and Funding Successes: I have 14 authored and co-authored refereed articles across a variety of catalytic reactions. I have supervised multiple research projects, mentoring over 12 graduate and undergraduate researchers, and have participated in writing proposals, SOPOâ??s, and reports leading to project successes. I co-invented a novel chemical looping ODH technology, which was awarded $3.8 million overall ARPA-E funding and licensed to a commercial partner (EcoCatalytic LLC).


PhD Dissertation: â??Nano-Particle Supported Catalystâ?Advised by Dr. Helena Hagelin-Weaver in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Florida

Research Experience:

Chemical Looping Redox Catalyst: Formulated and characterized redox catalysts for the oxidative coupling of methane; Formulated and characterized a novel core-shell redox catalyst for partial oxidation of methane to syn-gas; Co-invented a licensed catalytic/chemical-looping technology for oxidative dehydrogenation of ethane.

Direct Methanol Fuel Cells: Developed test procedures for electrode characterization, including quantification of water flux and oxygen starvation, to facilitate control in a novel membrane electrode assembly that allows passive water recovery by forcing water back into the fuel stream; Performed multiple surface and electrochemical characterizations of electrodes to identify the causes of cell degradation.

Platinum Group Metal Catalyst: Prepared and characterized Pd on nano-particle oxide supports for selective oxidation; Prepared and characterized high dispersion Pt/TiO2 catalyst for fundamental hydrogenation studies. Prepared Cu/Zn on nano-particle alumina for catalytic reforming of methanol; Designed and built gas phase reactor for catalyst activity testing; Operated and maintained UHV (Ultra High Vacuum) XPS system.


Selected Publications:


Luke M. Neal, Seif Yusuf, Fanxing Li. â??Oxidative Dehydrogenation of Ethane: A Chemical Looping Approach.â? Energy Technology, June 2016 (in press).

Ronghui Zhou, Evan W Zhao, Wei Cheng, Luke M. Neal, Haibin Zheng, Ryan E. Quiñones, Helena E. Hagelin-Weaver, Clifford R. Bowers. â??Parahydrogen-induced polarization by pairwise replacement catalysis on Pt and Ir nanoparticles.â? Journal of the American Chemical Society, September 2015, Volume 137, Pages 1938â??1946.

Luke M Neal, Arya Shafiefarhood, Fanxing Li. â??Dynamic Methane Partial Oxidation Using a Fe2O3@ La0.8Sr0. 2FeO3-δ Coreâ??Shell Redox Catalyst in the Absence of Gaseous Oxygen.â? ACS Catalysis, September 2014, 4 (10), Pages 3560â??3569.

Luke M. Neal, Michael L. Everett, Gar B. Hoflund, Helena E. Hagelin-Weaver. â??Characterization of Palladium Oxide Catalysts Supported on Nanoparticle Metal Oxides for the Oxidative Coupling of 4-Methlypyridine.â? Journal of Molecular Catalysis A: Chemical, February 2011, Volume 335, Issues 1-2, Pages 210-22.

Samuel D. Jones, Luke M. Neal, Helena E. Hagelin-Weaver. â??Steam Reforming of Methanol Using Cu-ZnO Catalysts Supported on Nanoparticle Alumina.â? Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, December 2008, Volume 84, Issues 3-4, Pages 631-642.

Luke M. Neal, Helena E. Hagelin-Weaver. â??Câ??H Activation and Câ??C Coupling of 4-Methylpyridine Using Palladium Supported on Nanoparticle Alumina.â? Journal of Molecular Catalysis A: Chemical, April 2008, Volume 284, Issues 1-2, Pages 141-148.


This paper has an Extended Abstract file available; you must purchase the conference proceedings to access it.


Do you already own this?



AIChE Members $150.00
AIChE Graduate Student Members Free
AIChE Undergraduate Student Members Free
Non-Members $225.00