Richard Ciora

PhD Student

Richard Ciora playing frisbee golf near UB campus.

Ph.D. Student Richard Ciora playing disk golf in his free time

My name is Richard Ciora and I plan to graduate with a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in the Summer of 2024.  Both of my parents are engineers and I believed I would pursue engineering for as long as I can remember.  I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where I obtained my BS in Chemical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.  I started my Ph.D. at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and followed my advisor, Professor Miao Yu when he moved his lab to UB in January of 2021.

One of the major topics of my thesis is based on CO2 hydrogenation to hydrocarbons in a dehydration membrane reactor.  H2O is a byproduct during CO2 hydrogenation and blocks the catalyst active sites. This imposes significant limitations on the conversion of CO2 to valuable chemicals.  Recent developments in zeolite membranes have led to highly selective H2O permeable membranes capable of operating at high pressures (>40 atmospheres) and temperatures (>300oC).  We incorporate H2O selective zeolite membranes with CO2 hydrogenation catalysts to remove H2O as it evolved during CO2 hydrogenation.  The results obtained during this project have been very exciting and we are writing a proposal for a Renewables to Liquids (RtL) call from ARPA-E utilizing our membrane reactor technology.

In my spare time, one of my favorite hobbies is playing disc golf.  There are many excellent disc golf courses within 45 minutes of UB.  I try to go disc golfing and enjoy nature every weekend even in the harsh conditions typically endured during this time of year in Buffalo.  After I graduate, I plan to work in industry and continue working on separation/reaction processes and contribute to tackling modern chemical engineering challenges.