Megan Chui

Megan Chui
2016 Mellichamp Sustainability Fellow

Research

My research focuses on the selective disassembly of lignocellulosic biomass towards the production of higher commodity chemicals. A renewable, abundant, non-food competing feedstock, lignocellulosic biomass provides an attractive alternative to petroleum due to its high aromatic carbon and oxygen density. However, selective conversion of lignin is particularly challenging due to the irregularity and complexity of the macromolecule. My research focuses on the reduction of lignocellulosic biomass. First, efforts will be made towards the sustainable manufacturing of catalysts. We have previously developed a catalyst comprised of earth abundant metals copper, aluminum, and magnesium capable of completely liquefying lignocellulosic biomass, woodchips, in supercritical methanol without the production of insoluble chars. Research now focuses on the addition of Lewis and Bronsted acid dopants both homogenously and heterogeneously towards a catalyst capable of preserving aromatic products.

Advisors:  Peter Ford and Alison Butler