Marjorie Massel

Ph.D. Student in Chemical Engineering

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Marjorie Massel, a member of Prof. Joan Brennecke’s laboratory, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from her native France. She decided to attend graduate school during a full-year internship in a chemical plant in West Virginia.

Marjorie says: “Our group works on developing ionic liquids as new solvents for different applications, with my specific project focusing on post-combustion carbon capture. Ionic liquids are non-volatile, non-flammable and very stable, making them extremely attractive for use in large-scale industrial processes. The challenge in solving future engineering environmental problems is as much concerned with environmental impact as it is with efficiency. These two factors combine in our attempts to design a solvent that absorbs the excess carbon dioxide that is produced.

“Advancements in clean energy production are vital in order to avoid dangerous climate change. My contribution to the project is measuring the enthalpy of absorption of carbon dioxide in the ionic liquid by calorimetry, or the amount of heat released when carbon dioxide is absorbed. This is used to estimate the amount of energy required to regenerate the solvent in order to determine if the process is economically feasible.

“My work at Notre Dame has given me the opportunity to present my work at an international congress on ionic liquids this year and at two other meetings. It has been very rewarding to work in a team on these important industrial issues with Notre Dame professors, graduate students and undergraduates.”