MIT Energy Initiative awards Seed Fund grants for methane conversion and machine learning

The MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) awarded seven grants through its Seed Fund Program, which supports early-stage innovative energy research. Two of these grants were awarded to research done by DMSE Professors Yang Shao-Horn and Rafael Gómez-Bombarelli.

Methane is an important part of the global energy portfolio; however, the lack of efficient methods to convert it into liquid fuels has significantly limited its applications. Professor Shao-Horn's research seeks to address this problem; she will focus on achieving efficient, cost-effective gas-to-liquid conversion using metal-organic frameworks as electrocatalysts.

Professor Gómez-Bombarelli's project will combine machine learning and simulation to accelerate the discovery cycle of zeolites--materials with wide-ranging industrial applications. Only 248 zeolite frameworks have been realized out of the millions of possible proposed structures so far, likely because the discovery of these frameworks has relied mostly on trial-and-error in the lab. Gómez-Bombarelli and his team will be using theory to speed up that process, driving new synthetic outcomes in zeolites faster.