The National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) has issued a new $4.8-million funding opportunity announcement (PD 15-1401) to advance research in catalytic engineering science and to promote the development of beneficial catalytic materials and reactions.
Research in the Catalysis and Biocatalysis program should focus on new basic understanding of catalytic materials and reactions, utilizing synthetic, theoretical, and experimental approaches. Target applications include fuels; specialty and bulk chemicals; environmental catalysis; biomass conversion to fuels and chemicals; conversion of greenhouse gases; and generation of solar hydrogen; as well as efficient routes to energy utilization.
The main focus on the program is on heterogeneous catalysis and biocatalysis.
The NSF is welcoming proposals related to both gas-solid and liquid-solid heterogeneous catalysis, as well as proposals that incorporate concepts from homogeneous catalysis. Biocatalysis proposals should focus on enzymatic catalysis involving engineering of the active site involved in substrate conversion.
Topic areas that are of particular interest include:
Renewable energy-related catalysis (including applications related to biocatalysis, biomass refining, electrocatalysis, and photocatalysis).
Catalysis aimed at closing the carbon cycle (especially conversion of CO2, methane, and natural gas to fuels and chemical intermediates).
Catalytic alternatives to traditionally non-catalytic reaction processes, as well as new catalyst designs for established catalytic processes.
Environmental catalysis (including energy-efficient and green routes to fuels and chemicals).
Catalytic remediation of feedstocks, process streams, products, or effluents.
Commercially scalable methods of catalyst synthesis.
New catalytic materials and architectures (especially those substituting earth-abundant materials for precious and noble metal catalysts).
Basic understanding of catalytic materials, reaction pathways, kinetics, and surface mechanisms.
Durable, poison-resistant, and easily regenerable catalyst formulations and designs.
Advances in tools for catalyst characterization and theoretical/computational catalysis.
The duration of unsolicited awards is generally one to three years. The typical award size for the program is around $100,000 per year with allowance for up to $150,000 per year for collaborative projects or those involving multiple investigators.
Applications are being accepted through 20 October 2015.