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New chemical engineering faculty member receives Powe Grant

Sheila Baker, an assistant professor in chemical engineering at the University of Missouri since January, has been awarded an Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Seed Grant.

Sheila Baker, an assistant professor in chemical engineering at the University of Missouri since January, has been awarded an Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Seed Grant.

Out of the 118 submissions from the 98 ORAU member universities to the grant program, 30 awards were made “to enrich the research and professional growth of young faculty.”

“I am very excited to get something so early on,” Baker said of the grant.

The topic of Baker’s funded project is, “Dual-Mode Carbon-Capture Nanofluids.” She said one consideration in pursuing the project is her desire to design materials for industrial carbon capture that are inexpensive and readily available.

“One important aspect of this research is that our materials incorporate two different modes to capture CO2, one chemical and the other physical,” Baker said.
Chemical engineering graduate student Carrie Hofmann is assisting with the research and Shannon Mahurin of Oak Ridge National Labs will be collaborating with some materials testing.

Baker said that these materials could potentially be used in an industrial setting such as a power plant for post combustion flue gas. Packed in a bed, the materials would function much like a filter or a scrubber. “It would keep CO2 from being released into the atmosphere,” she said.

Once the research has demonstrated results, Baker plans to apply to the Department of Energy for additional funding.

Other research interests include work with ionic liquids for use as electrolytes in solar cells and batteries, novel nanofluid materials for a variety of  applications, investigations into microwave reactions to form nanoparticles, and the fate and transport of nanoparticles in the environment.



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