Dr. Nancy B. Jackson, President ACS

Distinguished Speaker Series

Supported by the John Wiley Jones Science Endowment Fund

Friday, October 28 , 2011 - 2pm - CAR 1125

Sunshine to Petrol

James E. Miller, Ellen B. Stechel, and Nancy Jackson
Sandia National Laboratories

Sandia National Laboratories

Solar irradiation is the only sustainable energy source of a magnitude sufficient to meet projections for global energy demand. Solar fuels (i.e., fuels created from sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water) are especially attractive as they impact not only energy production and climate change, but also energy storage and energy security. Applying a solar energy source to chemically “reverse combustion” and produce liquid hydrocarbon fuels that are compatible with our current infrastructure from CO2 and H2O is analogous to the process of photosynthesis. However, by directly applying concentrating solar power to the problem of splitting CO2 and H2O to produce CO and H2, the basic energy-rich building blocks of synthetic liquid fuels, Sandia is optimistic that sunlight-to-fuel efficiencies will be significantly improved over biofuels. This unique approach of re-imagining the transportation fuel paradigm is called “Sunshine to Petrol” or S2P.

The heart of the S2P process is a unique metal-oxide-based thermochemical heat engine, the Counter-Rotating-Ring Receiver Reactor Recuperator, or CR5. Within the engine, rings of a reactive solid are thermally and chemically cycled to produce O2 and CO or H2 from CO2 or H2O in separate and isolated steps. These steps require high temperatures (ca. 1500 °C) that are achieved by concentrating solar power. The CR5 is a thermochemical analog to Stirling and Ericsson cycle heat engines and provides a framework for maximizing efficiency. Thus a key feature of the CR5 is the counter-current recuperation of heat between the high temperature O2-generating thermal reduction of the metal oxide and the lower temperature H2- or CO-producing oxidation of the metal oxide that improves the overall efficiency of the thermochemical process.  This CR5 is very demanding from a materials point of view. The active rings must maintain structural integrity and high reactivity after extensive thermal cycling. geometric surface area for gas-solid contact and for adsorption of incident solar radiation. This presentation will discuss the materials and engineering challenges and the strategies and research done to address the challenges.


Biographical Sketch

Nancy B. Jackson Nancy B. Jackson is manager of the International Chemical Threat Reduction Department in the Global Security Center at Sandia National Laboratories which assists the U.S. Department of State and other federal agencies in solving problems related to international chemical security.  With the U.S. Department of State, Dr. Jackson has developed the Chemical Security Engagement Program (CSP) an international program to raise awareness of chemical safety and security among chemical professionals and to enable the practice of safety and security in the research, teaching, and commerce of chemicals. CSP has worked with universities and small/medium chemical companies in Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.  Her group is responsible for encouraging the safe and secure practice of chemicals in an effort to prevent their misuse as weapons, poisons, explosives or environmental pollutants. This includes providing training in laboratory safety, process safety, and physical security.

Previously, Dr. Jackson was deputy director of Sandia’s International Security Program where she assisted the director in fulfilling its mission to create technology-based solutions through international cooperation to reduce the threat of weapons of mass destruction proliferation and terrorism.  During the past four years, Dr. Jackson was responsible for leading the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program for Global Security which requires identifying and overseeing the research program in support of Global Security. Prior to her positions in Global Security, Dr. Jackson was involved in research and development at Sandia, as a principal investigator and a manager.  Primarily her research was in heterogeneous catalysis with an emphasis on energy applications.  Later work involved chemical imaging with a wide variety of applications from biological systems to homeland defense problems. 

Dr. Jackson is a National Affiliate of the National Academies where she has served on several boards and chaired studies.  She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry and was recipient of the 2005 American Indian Science and Engineering Society Professional of the Year Award.  She is a Research Associate Professor at the Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Department of the University of New Mexico. Dr. Jackson has a B.S. degree in chemistry from George Washington University from which she won a Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award in 2005 and has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. 

In 2009, she was elected to the Presidential succession of the American Chemical Society. She will serve as President-Elect for 2010, President for 2011, and Immediate Past President for 2012.