ChE Faculty and Staff

  • P. T. Vasudevan named Interim Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs - August 2013
    Dr. P. T. Vasudevan, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Associate Dean in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS), has been named Interim Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.
  • Kyung Jae Jeong, Assistant Professor - joins UNH faculty - August 2013
    Dr. Jeong received his PhD from Purdue University and completed his post-doctoral research work at MIT.  Dr. Jeong's research interests are in the areas of Biomaterials and surface chemistry for tissue engineering.
  • Harish Vashisth, Assistant Professor - joins UNH faculty - August 2013
    Dr. Vashisth received his PhD from Drexel University and was a postdoctoral fellow at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  His research interests include: Computational Biophysics, Biomolecular Simulations, Molecular Transport, Cell Signaling via Membrane Proteins
  • Jyothirmai Simhadri, Lecturer - joins UNH faculty - August 2013
    Dr. Simhadri has joined the Department of Chemical Engineering as Lecturer.  She received her PhD from Tennessee Technological University.
  • Professor Dale P. Barkey Receives 2013 Teaching Excellence Award
  • Professor Dale P. Barkey Receives 2012 Faculty Excellence Award

Sept. 27, 2012

NSF Grants of $947,000 Help UNH Professor Boost Ethanol Efficiency

DURHAM, N.H. – Xiaowei Teng, assistant professor of chemical engineering at the University of New Hampshire, has received two National Science Foundation grants totaling nearly $1 million to improve the efficiency of ethanol oxidation fuel cell reactions.

“With these grants, we’re trying to promote ethanol as a future renewable fuel in the power generation industry,” says Teng. “Our research tries to target the most efficient way to burn it.”

Fuel cells, far more efficient than internal combustion engines, are emerging as a way to generate electricity from chemical energy; they are much like batteries in their function. Ethanol, which has been added to gasoline for use in autos, is at least four times more efficient in fuel cell reactions than in internal combustion engines. While hydrogen is the best-studied fuel in fuel cell reactions, ethanol presents several advantages.

“It’s less toxic compared to other fuels, and it can be obtained from a renewable process,” says Teng, adding that it can be derived not only from corn but also from non-sugar sources such as grasses and stalks.

Ethanol is hampered, however, by a slow, inefficient, and expensive oxidation process in the fuel cell reactions. With these two grants, each for three years, Teng and his colleagues will seek to improve that process. With the first grant, $375,000 funded by the Chemical Catalysis Program at NSF, Teng and co-principal investigator Nathaniel Deskins of Worcester Polytechnic Institute will develop and investigate a new class of palladium-based catalysts for efficient oxidation of ethanol in an alkaline medium via so-called alkaline fuel cell (AFC) reactions.

The second grant, $572,802 from NSF’s Catalysis and Biocatalysis Program, will fund the development of a new class of catalysts for ethanol oxidation that replace the currently used platinum-based catalysts, which are extremely expensive and less efficient, in proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMPC) reactions. Working with Deskins and Anatoly Frenkel from Yeshiva University, Teng will explore the use of catalysts based in iridium, which has a much lower price and higher reactivity than platinum in oxidizing ethanol molecules into carbon dioxide and water.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.

Photograph available to download:

Caption: Xiaowei Teng, assistant professor of chemical engineering at the University of New Hampshire, has received two National Science Foundation grants totaling nearly $1 million to improve the efficiency of ethanol oxidation fuel cell reactions.

Credit: Lisa Nugent, UNH Photographic Services


  • Professor PT Vasudevan is new Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, CEPS
  • Professor Russell Carr is new Chair of Chemical Engineering

Dr. Russell Carr will take over as Chair of Chemical Engineering on August 20, 2012.

  • Dr. Kang Wu joins UNH faculty - August 2012

Dr. Kang Wu received her PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and did her post-doctoral work at UIUC. Her research is in the area of Synthetic Biology and Biofuels.

  • Dr. Adam St. Jean joins UNH faculty - August 2012

Dr. Adam St. Jean has joined the department of chemical engineering as Lecturer. He will be teaching Energy and Enviroment and the undergraduate unit operations laboratory. Dr. St. Jean obtained his Ph.D. from UMass at Amherst.

  • Professor Dale Barkey wins Best Paper Award (October 2010)

Dr. Barkey's paper on Electrochemical Kinetics, Transport and Pattern Formation in Anodizing won the Robert L. Kersman Award of Excellence for Best Paper at the Eighteenth Annual International Anodizing Conference (sponsored by the Aluminum Anodizing Council) in October, 2009.

  • Professor VK Mathur is retiring after nearly 4 decades of service (May 2010)

Dr. Mathur is retiring after 36 years of distinguished service at the University of New Hampshire. Dr. Mathur will be holding a workshop between chemical engineering faculty of the US and China to exchange information and to foster long-term collaboration in the areas of energy and environmental pollution. The workshop will be held in Durham in May 20

  • Professor Niva Gupta wins CEPS Teaching Award (April 2010)

Professor Niva Gupta is the recipient of the CEPS Outstanding Teacher Award for 2009-2010. This was announced at the CEPS College faculty meeting.

  • Professor Vasudevan is on the Scientific Advisory Board of new Springer journal (March 2010)

Prof. Vasudevan is on the scientific advisory board of Biomass and Waste Valorization, a new Springer journal. The first issue was published in March 2010 and a special session was held at the ACS meeting in San Francisco in March 2010 to commemorate the publication of the journal. Dr. Vasudevan was invited to give a talk on "Environmentally Sustainable Biofuels: Advances in Biodiesel Research"; the article also appeared in the first issue of the journal.

  • Dr. Jiilian Goldfarb to join the department in fall 2010 (March 2010)

Dr. Jillian Goldfarb will be the newest addition to the department in fall 2010. Dr. Goldfarb received her PhD from Brown University and is currently employed at Simmons College. Her research is in the area of Energy and the Environment.

  • Visitor from Osaka Prefecture University (November 2009)

Professor Naoki Okamoto, Department of Chemical Engineering, Osaka Prefecture University, visited Professor Barkey’s lab from November 1 to December 15, 2009 to collaborate on research on electrodeposition for advanced semi-conductor packaging applications. His visit was supported by a gift from Nexx Systems of Bellerica, MA, a manufacturer of processing equipment for the semi-conductor industry.

  • Professor Dale Barkey receives grant from NSF - August 2009

Professor Dale Barkey received a $345, 000, 3-year grant from NSF in support of his research on Chemical Design and Electrochemical Process Engineering for Micro-Fabrication. Professor Ed Wong, Chemistry, is Co-PI.

  • Professor Qing Song joins UNH ChE faculty - August 2009

Professor Qing Song is the newest member of the ChE faculty. Dr. Song received her PhD from CUNY and did her postdoctoral work at MGH and at MIT. Her research is in the area of Tissue Engineering.

  • Departmental Advisory Board Meeting on October 10, 2008

The Departmental Advisory Board held its annual meeting at the New England Center on October 10, 2008. Learn more..

  • Professor Xiaowei (Sean) Teng joins UNH ChE faculty - August 2008

Professor Xiaowei Teng is the newest member of the ChE Faculty. Dr. Teng received his PhD from the University of Rochester and has been a postdoctoral fellow at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Dr. Teng's research is in the area of nanomaterials and catalysis.

  • Professor Gupta promoted to Associate Professor with tenure - August 2008

Professor Nivedita Gupta was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure. Dr. Gupta joined UNH in fall 2002.

  • Professor Vasudevan takes over as Chair - June 2008

Professor Vasudevan is the new Chair of the Chemical Engineering department. Professor Vasudevan joined UNH in August 1988.

  • Professor Fan retires after nearly 5 decades of service - June 2008

Professor Stephen Fan retired on May 23, 2008 after nearly 5 decades of distinguished service at the University of New Hampshire. We will miss his loyalty to the department and its traditions.