Joan Brennecke

Keating Crawford Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Director, Notre Dame Center for Sustainable Energy

Joan Brennecke

Prof. Brennecke is internationally known for her research in the development of solvents, specifically supercritical fluids and ionic liquids. Her research interests include supercritical fluid technology, ionic liquids, thermodynamics, environmentally benign chemical processing, and carbon dioxide separation, storage and usage.

Prof. Brennecke 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.

The author of numerous groundbreaking articles on the use of supercritical fluids and ionic liquids, Prof. Brennecke’s 1999 paper in the journal Nature launched a totally new area of molecular thermodynamics—one made up entirely of ions—to exploit ionic liquids.

She is the editor of the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Chemical and Engineering Data and throughout her career has received numerous awards for her research, as well as for her contributions in the classroom. She is the 2010 recipient of the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 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. She also was selected as the 2008 Julius Stieglitz Lecturer Award by ACS.

Prof. 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 (AIChE), and the 2001 Ipatieff Prize from the ACS 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.

Along with Notre Dame’s Prof. Prashant Kamat, Prof. Brennecke was included in the 2011 list of the decade’s top 100 chemists published by the Times Higher Education Group.

The Graduate School has honored Prof. Brennecke as well for the close attention she gives to the development of her many graduate students—all while maintaining tremendous research productivity—and for her leadership in interdisciplinary projects across the Colleges of Science and Engineering.

Prof. Brennecke is a member of AIChE, ACS and the American Society for Engineering Education. She is the past chair of the Council for Chemical Research and currently serves on the editorial board of the journal Green Chemistry.

A graduate of the University of Texas, Prof. 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.

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