Welcome to Catalysis for A Sustainable Environment

The CSE group consists of faculty and students in Columbia University's Earth and Environmental Engineering department. Our research interests vary widely, from hydrogen generation for fuel cells to synthetic natural gas, but every project is united by the goal of improving our planet with sustainable catalysis engineering.

Catalysis for A Sustainable Environment: Philosophy

We are committed to applied and fundamental research to enhance the world’s environment. Our research activities address critical issues of importance to a sustainable future including clean air, alternative energy sources such as materials for the hydrogen economy and managing green-house gases by capture and conversion to useful products.

Fossil fuels will continue to be a primary source of energy whereby their combustion contributes to global warming via CO2 production. We have developed a dual function material (DFM) containing an adsorbent and catalyst that capturing CO2 from flue gas and with the addition of renewable H2 from water electrolysis via (solar, wind, etc.) catalytically converts it to synthetic natural gas (CH4). This minimizes emissions of CO2, generates re usable CH4 fuel thereby deceasing the need for extracting natural gas from the earth, while using excess renewable energy. The DFM is positioned in the flue gas exhaust at one single temperature capturing CO2 and catalytic converting it to CH4 which is recycled to the front end of the plant closing the carbon balance. Process scale up studies are in progress.

We seek clean air via catalytic pollution abatement using heterogeneous supported catalysts. Applications in emission control from vehicles and stationary sources are a primary focus. We seek cost effective catalytic materials with sustained life to reduce emissions of toxic gases.

We develop new catalysts and cost effective processes to convert infrastructure fuels (natural gas, ethanol and sulfur-containing liquid fuels) to generate hydrogen for the emerging hydrogen economy. This technology will serve as a temporary solution while renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind are being developed.

Professor Dr. Robert (Bob) Farrauto

Professor of Practice and Principle Investigator

Robert (Bob) Farrauto spent 37 years in the R&D department of BASF (formerly Engelhard Corporation) in Iselin, NJ. In 2007 he was promoted to Vice President, Research and Development at their R&D Center in Iselin, New Jersey. His major responsibilities have included the development of advanced automobile emission control catalysts and catalysts for the chemical and alternative energy industries. He is the 2008 recipient of the Ciapetta Lectureship Award sponsored by the North American Catalysis Society and the 2005 Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Practice Award sponsored by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He is 2016 recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award sponsored by the Alumni Association.

  • PhD - Chemistry, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (USA)
  • Bachelor of Science - Chemistry, Manhattan College (USA)
  • Automotive Three Way Catalysts
  • Environmental Catalysts
  • Alternative Energy Catalysts
  • Carbon Dioxide Capture and Conversion
Additional information:

Catalysis for a Sustainable Environment
Earth and Environmental Engineering
Columbia University in the City of New York
927 S.W. Mudd
500 W. 120th Street
New York, New York, 10027
: Robert Farrauto rf2182@columbia.edu
: Main office 212-854-6390
: Mobile 732-829-7127