Reducing the environmental impacts of fuel use and developing renewable fuel sources.


Biofuels & Environmental Catalysis

Reducing the environmental impacts of fuel use and developing renewable fuel sources.

Environmental Catalysis

Developing novel catalytic technology to reduce emissions of harmful air pollutants, and promote a new sustainable industrial chemistry.

Experiential Education

Offering research opportunities and mentoring to students in order to train the next generation of scientists, engineers, and technologists.

Biofuel Development

Analyzing various forms of biomass as a feedstock for the production of biofuels and platform chemicals. Exploring new processes for converting bio/waste oils into renewable fuels.

Algae Research

Investigating algae based carbon dioxide utilization and exploring ways to produce biofuels, bioplastics, and high value chemicals more sustainably.

Active Projects

Environmental Catalysis

Reducing Harmful Emissions
in Automotive Engines

Traditional automotive engines rely on a device known as a three-way catalytic converter to control harmful exhaust emissions. Unfortunately, the existing technology to support these devices fails to function efficiently at low temperatures, such as when the engine is starting up. Our environmental catalysis teams are working hard to develop advanced automotive catalytic technologies, engineered to effectively reduce harmful combustion emissions at ambient temperatures.

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Experiential Education

Broadening Participation in Engineering

We recognize the importance of developing a diverse and well-prepared engineering workforce. We’ve implemented a research center-based mentoring program to improve the engineering interests, preparation, connections, experiences, and opportunities among underrepresented groups.

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Algae Research

Beneficial Re-use of Carbon Emissions from Coal-Fired Power Plants Using Microalgae

The University of Kentucky (UK) Research Foundation is developing a cost-effective process to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal-fired power plants to value-added biological-based products such as bioplastics, chemicals, and fuels using microalgae in a dual photobioreactor (PBR)/pond cultivation system.

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Research Team

Featured Publications

T. Morgan, E. Santillan-Jimenez, K. Huff, K.R. Javed, M. Crocker, “Use of Dual Detection in the Gas Chromatographic Analysis of Oleaginous Biomass Feeds and Biofuels Products to Enable Accurate Simulated Distillation and Lipid Profiling”, Energy & Fuels, 31 (2017) 9498.


J.A. Jennings, S. Parkin, E. Munson, S.P. Delaney, J.L. Calahan, M. Isaacs, K. Hong, M. Crocker, “Regioselective Baeyer-Villiger Oxidation of Lignin Model Compounds with Tin Beta Zeolite Catalyst and Hydrogen Peroxide”, RSC Advances, 7 (2017) 25987.


Y. Ji, D. Xu, S. Bai, U. Graham, M. Crocker, B. Chen, C. Shi, D. Harris, D. Scapens, J. Darab, “Pt- and Pd-promoted CeO2-ZrO2 for passive NOx adsorber applications”, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 56 (2017) 111.


R. Loe, E. Santillan-Jimenez, T. Morgan, L. Sewell, Y. Ji, S. Jones, M.A. Isaacs, A.F. Lee, M. Crocker, “Effect of Cu and Sn promotion on the catalytic deoxygenation of model and algal lipids to fuel-like hydrocarbons over supported Ni catalysts”, Appl. Catal. B, 191 (2016) 147.


M.H. Wilson, D.T. Mohler, J.G. Groppo, T. Grubbs, S. Kesner, E.M. Frazar, A. Shea, C. Crofcheck, M. Crocker, “Capture and Recycle of Industrial CO2 Emissions using Microalgae”, Appl. Petrochem. Res., 6(3) (2016) 279.

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Clean Fuels & Chemicals

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