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April 17, 2017

CBE hosts international visiting scientist supported by Humboldt Foundation

Written By: Silke Schmidt

In April 2017, the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering welcomed Thomas Erhard Kropp, a visiting scientist from Germany who is supported by the Humboldt Foundation’s Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship. Kropp received his doctoral degree in theoretical chemistry from the Humboldt University of Berlin in 2016 and has worked as an instructor and postdoctoral researcher at the same institution since then.

Kropp is studying the catalytic properties of materials derived from cerium, a rare earth metal that can be obtained at relatively low cost. Cerium oxides are of great interest in the development of fuel cells, which convert chemical energy, typically derived from burning hydrogen in the presence of oxygen, into electricity. They operate at higher efficiency than the combustion engines currently used by most cars and power plants and do not generate carbon dioxide emissions or other air pollutants.

During his two-year visit, Kropp will work with the computational surface science and catalysis research group directed by Manos Mavrikakis, Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor and Paul A. Elfers Professor in chemical and biological engineering.