Knudsen Cell Reactor for Catalyst Research Related to Hydrogen Technologies

EPA Grant Number: SU832475
Title: Knudsen Cell Reactor for Catalyst Research Related to Hydrogen Technologies
Investigators: Glawe, Diana , Chandler, Bert , Pursell, Chris
Institution: Trinity University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: September 30, 2005 through May 30, 2006
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2005) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Materials & Chemicals , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Hydrogen has been identified as a viable sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Hydrogen as an energy source is ecologically feasible, socially desirable, and with continued research and development promises to become economically viable. The faculty advisors listed in this proposal have recently formed an interdisciplinary research team to develop and characterize new bimetallic nanoparticle catalysts for use in evolving hydrogen technologies. The P3 award is both ideally suited and timely to enable a student design group to contribute to this interdisciplinary research effort. The tangible product of the students’ contribution will be a detailed design for a full-scale Knudsen cell reactor along with the fabrication and testing of a sample holder and a semi-instrumented reactor shell. The remainder of the Knudsen cell reactor will be built per the students’ design with funding from other sources. The construction and application of a Knudsen cell reactor will allow careful measurement of the temperature dependence of gas uptake coefficients, activity coefficients, surface coverages, and reaction rate constants of new catalysts proposed for use in hydrogen technologies.

The students will adhere to the established Engineering Science Department’s capstone design experience requirements and milestones schedule. This schedule includes five reports and four presentations, two of which will be delivered to the entire Engineering Science Department student body. The nature of the capstone design project includes consideration of factors such as: sustainability, manufacturability, health and safety as well as political, societal, environmental, and economic impacts. Therefore, the students will naturally address the potential benefits resulting from their design project with respect to the prosperity of the planet and its people.

The students’ design will be evaluated by the three faculty advisors (one in the Engineering Science Department and two in the Chemistry Department) on a continuous basis, and periodically by several other engineering science faculty members during student presentations. The performance of the sample holder and reactor shell will be rigorously tested through a series of parametric tests. Successful completion of the Knudsen cell reactor will provide the foundation for the experiments necessary to characterize and develop new catalysts to support a sustainable hydrogen economy that will ultimately benefit the planet and its inhabitants.

Supplemental Keywords:

air, transportation, energy, pollution, nanotechnology, renewable, clean technologies, measurement methods, transportation, hydrogen initiative, hydrogen technologies,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Environmental Chemistry, Sustainable Environment, Energy, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Engineering, Knudsen cell reactor, hydrogen fuels, catalysts, hydrogen technologies, energy efficiency, energy technology, alternative energy source

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report