Gang Wu receives $660,000 REFUEL award

Image source: arpa-e website (

Renewable Energy to Fuels Through Utilization of Energy-Dense Liquids

Published December 22, 2016

REFUEL aims to develop technologies for converting water and nitrogen into electricity on demand.

“The REFUEL project will provide exciting breakthroughs for the health of the environment and efficiency of the transportation industry nationwide. ”
Gang Wu, Assistant Professor

Most liquid fuels used in transportation today are derived from petroleum and burned in internal combustion engines. These energy-dense fuels are currently economical, but they remain partially reliant on imported petroleum and are highly carbon intensive. Projects in the REFUEL program will develop scalable technologies for converting water, nitrogen and carbon dioxide into energy-dense carbon-neutral liquid fuels (CNLFs) and back into electricity or hydrogen fuel on demand. The REFUEL program will provide $35 million to 16 projects that will accelerate the shift to domestically produced transportation fuels and enable greater integration of renewable energy sources onto the grid, improving grid resiliency and American energy security.

REFUEL aims to develop technologies for converting water and nitrogen into energy-dense liquid fuels such as ammonium and back into electricity or hydrogen fuel on demand.  Dr. Wu and his research group will work to develop high-performance catalysts to decompose NH3 at an economically favorable low temperature (<450oC), and the catalysts for electrochemically reducing N2 to synthesize NH3 using renewable energy-generated electricity. 

Dr. Gang Wu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE) at the University at Buffalo. Prior to joining UB in 2014, he was a staff scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). His research at UB focuses on materials, energy, and sustainability with special emphasis on electrochemical clean energy conversion and storage. He has written more than 130 scientific articles (8700 Citations-Google Scholar, h-index = 43), 7 invited book chapters, and holds 6 U.S. patents. Currently, he is leading and participating multiple fuel cells, batteries, and renewable fuels (e.g., NH3) related projects supported by U.S. DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Office, APRA-e Office, and NSF.