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K-State Today Student Edition

November 21, 2013



Notre Dame chemical engineering professor to speak at Kansas State University's National Academy of Engineering Seminar Series

By Mary Rankin

Joan Brennecke, Keating-Crawford professor of chemical engineering at Notre Dame and 2012 National Academy of Engineering inductee will speak at the College of Engineering National Academy of Engineering Seminar Series at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 5, in Fiedler Hall Auditorium.

Brennecke’s address, “Using Ionic Liquids for Energy Applications,” will highlight her internationally known research in the development of solvents, specifically supercritical fluids and ionic liquids. Her interests in this area also include thermodynamics, environmentally benign chemical processing, and carbon dioxide separation, storage and usage.

She also directs the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame, which spearheads intensive research efforts associated with three thrust areas of the university’s sustainable energy initiative — cleaner fossil, safer nuclear and transformative solar energy — as well as other energy-related areas such as technology and policy for energy efficiency, fuel cells, batteries, wind, geothermal, solar photovoltaics, biofuels and smart grid.

“We are honored to host Dr. Brennecke for our National Academy of Engineering Seminar Series,” said Noel Schulz, associate dean for research and graduate programs in the College of Engineering at Kansas State University.

“She has authored numerous groundbreaking articles on the use of supercritical fluids and ionic liquids, and her published work in the journal Nature launched a totally new area of molecular thermodynamics — one made up entirely of ions.”

A graduate of the University of Texas, Brennecke received her master’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois. She has served as a Notre Dame faculty member since 1989.

She is the editor of the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Chemical and Engineering Data, and the 2010 recipient of the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award from the U.S. Department of Energy for her exceptional contributions in research and development supporting DOE in its mission to advance the national, economic and energy security of the U.S.

Brennecke also has received the 2007 John M. Prausnitz Award for outstanding achievement in applied chemical thermodynamics from the Conference on Properties and Phase Equilibria for Product and Process Design, the Professional Progress Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the 2001 Ipatieff Prize from the American Chemical Society in recognition of her high-pressure studies of the local structure of supercritical fluid solutions and the effect of this local structure on the rates of homogeneous reactions. In 1991, the National Science Foundation honored her with the Presidential Young Investigator Award.

The National Academy of Engineering Seminar Series, established in 2013, is sponsored and funded by the K-State College of Engineering Office of Research and Graduate Programs, in an effort to bring academy members to campus to speak and meet with faculty and students.

The mission of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology. Members are elected by their peers—current National Academy of Engineering members. Election to membership is one of the highest professional honors accorded an engineer, with only approximately 2,000 members and foreign associates across all the engineering disciplines.