Group Leader, Heterogeneous Catalysis Research
Chris Marshall is a research chemist with expertise in catalyst formulation and characterization, reactor testing of both homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts, catalysis fundamentals, and molecular modeling.
His work is aimed at understanding the workings of current catalysts and improving their activities and selectivities. Research goals are met by a combination of selective synthesis of active catalytic phases; improved understanding of the interrelationships between the active phases, supports and feeds; and the use of computational chemistry to develop first-principle understanding of both catalyst and hydrocarbon feed and products. The unique understanding brought about by these techniques provides new insights into existing and future commercial processes; this research important to both the U.S. Department of Energy and chemical and energy-producing companies.
Marshall currently heads up one of Argonne’s Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC) called the Institute for Atom-Efficient Chemical Transformations (IACT). IACT is is a partnership among world‐class scientists at Argonne National Laboratory, Northwestern University, University of Wisconsin‐Madison, and Purdue University. Using a multidisciplinary approach involving integrated catalyst synthesis, advanced characterization, catalytic experimentation, and computation, IACT will address key chemistries associated with clean, efficient utilization of the two main chemical energy resources in the United States, namely coal and biomass. We have identified the efficient removal of oxygen from biomass and coal and the hydrogenation of these systems as key chemistries and unifying themes for IACT.
Before joining Argonne, Chris worked for the Amoco Oil Research and Development Department in Naperville, Illinois. His work included the development of new petroleum processing catalysts. While at Amoco he furthered his extensive understanding of catalyst mechanisms and deactivation, which began during his Ph.D. research at Michigan State University under Professor Thomas J. Pinnavaia. Chris made his mark in the development of in-situ techniques for catalyst characterization. He developed techniques (such as in-situ gravimetric analysis of deactivating catalysts) that were crucial tools for understanding the deactivation of catalytic cracking catalysts and served as the basis for new catalyst formulations. Early in his career at Argonne, Chris directed research programs in nanoscale synthesis of catalysts, hydrocarbon alkylation catalysis, sulfur-resistant NOx catalysts, and catalysts for the removal of toxic substances in coal liquids.
Chris’ current research emphasizes a mix of fundamental understanding of the nature of the catalyst with practical applications. He interacts extensively with academic, industrial, and national-laboratory organizations.