Assistant Professor
Office:
CHBE 429

Research Summary

Heterogeneous catalysis, clean energy, CO2-free chemical conversion, GHGs-to-fuels

Education

Stanford University, 2019, Postdoctoral Scholar
University of California Santa Barbara, 2017, Ph.D.
McGill University, 2010, B.Eng.

Research interests + projects

  • Reaction engineering
  • Kinetics and understanding reaction mechanisms
  • Liquid heterogeneous catalysts
  • Integration of reaction and separation
  • Natural gas conversion
  • Chemical looping for process intensification and thermodynamic equilibrium perturbation

Today, 75% of the anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions come from carbon dioxide from the energy and chemical sectors. In the future, CO2-free transportation fuels along processes that produce solid phase carbon or storable carbonates will be important as CO2 emissions become increasingly undesirable and costly to emit. The overall goal of our research is to understand and develop catalysts and processes to produce chemicals, power, and materials in environmentally sustainable ways.

Experiments in CHBE’s Catalysis Labs are used to infer mechanisms and develop new catalysts. The techniques used include operando IR spectroscopy, pulsed and transient analysis of reaction mechanisms, isotopic labeling studies, in-situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy, and many other characterization tools. Modeling and collaborations with theorists enhance our understanding. We are particularly interested in understanding how liquid heterogeneous catalysts behave under reaction conditions.

Selected publications + presentations

Clarke Palmer, D. Chester Upham, Simon Smart, Michael Gordon, Horia Metiu, and Eric W. McFarland. Hydrogen production using methane: techno-economics of decarbonizing fuels and chemicals. Nature Catalysis, 2020 3 83-89

D. Chester Upham, Henrik H. Kristoffersen, Zachary R. Snodgrass, Michael Gordon, Horia Metiu, and Eric W. McFarland. Mixed halogens for selective partial oxidation of methane and propane. Applied Catalysis A, 2019 580 102-110.

Jonathan Snyder, Verena Streibel, McKenzie Hubert, Tej Choksi, Eduardo Valle, D. Chester Upham, Julia Shumann, Melis Duyar, Alessandro Gallo, Frank Abild-Pedersen, Thomas Jaramillo. Revealing the synergy between oxide and alloy phases on the performance of bimetallic In-Pd catalysts for CO2 hydrogenation to methanol. ACS Catalysis, 2019 9 (4) 3399-3412

D. Chester Upham, Zachary R. Snodgrass, Michael J. Gordon, Horia Metiu, and Eric W. McFarland. CO2-free partial combustion of methane to produce power, water, and solid carbon catalyzed by halogens and molten salts. ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, 2018 6 (11) 15673-81 DOI 10.1021/acssuschemeng.8b04168.

D. Chester Upham, Alexander Khechfe, Vishal Agarwal, Zachary Snodgrass, Michael Gordon, Horia Metiu, and Eric W. McFarland. Catalytic molten metals for the direct conversion of methane to hydrogen and separable carbon. Science, 2017 358 (6365) 917-921 DOI 10.1126/science.aao5023.

Brett Parkinson, Mojgan Zavareh, D. Chester Upham, Benjamin Ballinger, Simon Smart, and Eric W. McFarland. Hydrogen production using methane: techno-economics of decarbonizing fuels and chemicals. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 2018 43 (5) 2540-2555 DOI 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2017.12.081

D. Chester Upham, Zachary R. Snodgrass, Mojgan Zavareh, Thomas McConnaughy, Michael Gordon, Horia Metiu, and Eric W. McFarland. Molten salt chemical looping for reactive separation of HBr in a halogen-based natural gas conversion process. Chemical Engineering Sciences, 2017 160 245-253 DOI 10.1016/j.ces.2016.11.036

Brett Parkinson, Joshua Matthews, Thomas McConnaughy, D. Chester Upham, and Eric W. McFarland. Technoeconomic analysis of methane pyrolysis in molten metals. Chemical Engineering & Technology, 2017 40 (6) 1022-1030 DOI: 10.1002/ceat.201600414

Bronwyn Laycock, Ru-Fen Liu, Xiaoyu Wang, Jorja Cork, D. Chester Upham, and Eric W. McFarland. Investigation of bromination/dehydrobromination of long chain alkanes. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 2017 56 (34) 9411-9418 DOI 10.1021/acs.iecr.7b01039

D. Chester Upham, Michael Gordon, Horia Metiu, and Eric W. McFarland. Halogen mediated oxidative dehydrogenation of propane using iodine or molten lithium iodide. Catalysis Letters, 2016 146 744-754 DOI 10.1007/s10562-016-1701-1

Sivaram Pradhan, D. Chester Upham, Horia Metiu, and Eric W. McFarland. Partial oxidation of propane with CO2 on Ru doped ceria. Catalysis Science & Technology, 2016 6 (14) 5483-5493 DOI: 10.1039/C6CY00011h

D. Chester Upham, Alan R. Derk, Sudanshu Sharma, Horia Metiu, and Eric W. McFarland. CO2 methanation by Ru-doped ceria: the role of the oxidation state of the surface. Catalysis Science & Technology, 2015 5 (3) 1783-1791 DOI: 10.1039/C4CY01106F

Nirala Singh, D. Chester Upham, Ru-Fen Liu, Jonathan James Burk, Nicholas John Economou, Horia Metiu, and Eric W. McFarland. Investigation of the active sites of rhodium sulfide for hydrogen evolution/oxidation using carbon monoxide as a probe. Langmuir, 2014. 30 (19) 5662-5668

Nirala Singh, D. Chester Upham, Horia Metiu, and Eric W. McFarland. Gas-phase chemistry to understand electrochemical hydrogen evolution and oxidation on doped transition metal sulfides. Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 2013 160 (10) 1902-1906

Carole E. Baddour, D. Chester Upham, Jean-Luc Meunier. Direct and repetitive growth cycles of carbon nanotubes of stainless steel particles by chemical vapor depositions in a fluidized bed. Carbon, 2010 48 (9) 2652-2656