WSJ: Clean energy from ammonia: UW discovery a step toward carbon-free economy

UW-Madison scientists have discovered a new way to capture energy from an everyday product that could be a key step to a carbon-free economy. Researchers in professor John Berry’s chemistry lab found that ammonia combined with a catalyst containing the metal ruthenium spontaneously produces nitrogen, releasing electrons that can be siphoned off.

Chemists discover new way to harness energy from ammonia

A research team at the University of Wisconsin–Madison has identified a new way to convert ammonia to nitrogen gas through a process that could be a step toward ammonia replacing carbon-based fuels.

The discovery of this technique, which uses a metal catalyst and releases, rather than requires, energy, was reported Nov. 8 in Nature Chemistry and has received a provisional patent from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

An exciting discovery from an incorrect hypothesis

A hypothesis can be a scientists’ best-educated guess about how an experiment might turn out or why they got specific results. Sometimes, they’re not far off from the truth. Other times, they’re wrong. Being wrong isn’t always a bad thing. Often, it means that the researchers get to discover something new and exciting. This exact scenario happened when the Burstyn and Buller lab decided to work together on a project.

Prof. Clark Landis becomes UW-Madison Department of Chemistry chair

Clark Landis, who has been with the UW-Madison Department of Chemistry for 30 years, will take over as department chair on July 1, 2021, to begin a three-year term. His goals as department chair are to attract outstanding faculty and students, improve departmental infrastructure for research and education, and to complete our ongoing Departmental reorganization. These goals support the department in its mission to conduct world-class, groundbreaking research in the chemical sciences while offering the highest quality of education to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral associates.

NSF award to establish network for advanced NMR across three institutions

The University of Wisconsin–Madison will join a first-of-its-kind collaborative network for nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, which researchers use to probe large biological molecules like proteins and RNA.

Today, the National Science Foundation announced a $40 million award to establish the Network for Advanced NMR (NAN) linking three institutions: UConn School of Medicine, the University of Georgia and UW–Madison’s National Magnetic Resonance Facility at Madison.