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Julie Rorrer awarded IGNIITE 2024 grant for energy research

July 8, 2024

ChemE assistant professor Julie Rorrer was selected as one of 23 early-career scientists and engineers to receive $500,000 in funding from a new program by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

Assistant Professor Julie Rorrer

The Inspiring Generations of New Innovators to Impact Technologies in Energy 2024 (IGNIITE 2024) program by ARPA-E funds early-career innovators with a $500,000 grant to advance energy-focused research projects. Rorrer was among 49 applicants invited to present in Washington D.C., and ultimately was selected as one of the final 23 award recipients.

The grant will fund a 2-year project to develop a catalytic reactor that can adapt to the intermittent nature of renewable hydrogen availability and also provide a cheaper and cleaner way to store green hydrogen using an abundant, low-cost material–waste plastic.

Illustration of green hydrogen storage process

Illustration provided by Julie Rorrer

Hydrogen is widely used in fuel or chemical production, and can be stored in chemical bonds using liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHCs). Currently these carriers are often made from expensive fossil fuels, which also contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Using plastic waste as a carrier addresses the greater challenges of both plastic pollution and hydrogen storage.

This project by the Rorrer Lab will ultimately offer a transformative solution in plastic waste management and reliable energy storage.