Established in 2014, the Center for Understanding and Control of Acid Gas-Induced Evolution of Materials for Energy (UNCAGE-ME) was one of 10 new Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) financed with a four-year $11.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In 2018, the U.S. DOE renewed funding for UNCAGE-ME with an additional $12 million through 2022 and is one of 42 EFRCs funded this year to accelerate scientific breakthroughs. The focus of the EFRC is to advance understanding of how acid gases interact with energy-related materials.
Krista Walton, professor in the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech, is director for the Center. Five other GT ChBE professors — Christopher Jones, Ryan Lively, Sankar Nair, Rampi Ramprasad, and David Sholl — serve as principal investigators. The center involves work at seven partner institutions: Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, Tenn.; the Department of Energy’s largest multiprogram science and energy laboratory), Sandia National Laboratories, the University of Alabama, the University of Wisconsin, Lehigh University (Bethlehem, Pa.), Pennsylvania State University, and Washington University in St. Louis.
UNCAGE-ME seeks to provide a fundamental understanding of acid gas interactions with solid materials through integrated studies of the interaction of key acid gases (CO2, NO2, NO, SO2, H2S) with a broad range of materials. We combine the application of in situ molecular spectroscopic studies of both the surface functionalities and bulk structures of materials relevant to catalysis and separations under relevant environmental conditions with complimentary multiscale computational and theoretical modeling of acid gas interactions with solid matter. Insights gained by the multi-investigator, multidisciplinary teams will allow us to achieve the following long-term, 4-Year Goals set forth for the Center:
Develop a deep knowledge base characterizing acid gas interactions applicable to a broad class of materials.
Develop fundamental knowledge allowing practical predictions of materials interacting with complex gas environments on long time scales.
Advance fundamental understanding of the characterization and control of defects in porous sorbents.
Accelerate materials discovery for large-scale energy applications by establishing broadly applicable strategies to extend material stability and lifetime in the presence of acid gases.