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Senate confirms Moniz as Energy Secretary

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Ernest Moniz to be the next Secretary of Energy, replacing Steven Chu. The vote was 97-0, with three senators (Roy Blunt, R-Missouri; Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma; and Jerry Moran, R-Kansas) missing the vote. Moniz has served on the faculty of MIT since 1973, with a research focus on energy technology and policy.

Catalytic hydrogen transfer (4 projects)

We are preparing oxazolinylborate-coordinated group 9 compounds for catalytic hydrogen transfer. Our motivation for this work is that manipulation of hydrogen, as part of organic molecules, is extremely important for energy-related applications.  These application include oxidation state control for transformations of oxygen-rich biomass and oxidation/functionalization of petrochemicals.

Heterogeneous catalysis

To control heterogeneous catalysis at atomic and electronic-level represents one of the most challenge research areas. Using metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) as hosts of metal nanoclusters, we could reach an atomic and electronic-level control of heterogeneous catalysts. MOFs, as novel template materials for the synthesis of metal nanoclusters, have great potentials for catalysis due to their structural diversity, flexibility and tailorability, as well as high porosity.

Multifunctional Nanostructured Materials for Processing of Biomass

Students will work on a project aimed to prepare smart nanodevices for catalyzing sequences of chemical reactions to convert biomass into biorenewable fuels and chemical commodities. The nanostructured materials will be composed of organic and inorganic species that will work cooperatively to effectively promote chemical conversions behaving like nanosized assembly lines. The students will be trained in the synthesis and characterization of hybrid mesoporous materials.

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