Technology Transfer

As a Center for Chemical Innovation, CENTC’s mission is to address challenging problems in catalysis and provide enabling science. Specific research projects are chosen based on their potential for high impact both within the scientific community and in terms of science that can be translated to applications and new technologies. Ownership of intellectual property developed as a result of CENTC research does not belong to CENTC but rather is associated with the universities where the research was performed.

Technologies available for joint development, licensing, or other beneficial relationships with CENTC partner universities include:

The technology involves a dual catalyst system that is used to optimize the yield of useable clean fuels produced in biomass-to-liquid, gas-to-liquid, and coal-to-liquid processes by shifting the molecular weight distribution of the blend of fuel products to the blend desired.

Inventors: Alan Goldman, Maurice Brookhart, Amy Roy MacArthur, Ritu Ahuja, Zheng Huang
U.S. Patents 7,902,417 and 8,362,312
Contact: UNC Office of Technology Development

New catalysts for the oxidation of water to oxygen (O2) have been invented. The electrocatalytic oxidation of water to O2 is a key part of the production of fuels (such as hydrogen, H2) from electrical energy. The catalysts are coordination complexes of copper with bipyridine (bpy) ligands.

Inventors: James Mayer, Shoshanna Barnett, Karen Goldberg, Bobby PortisC
U.S. Patent 8,585,888
Contact: University of Washington Center for Commercialization

A synthesis of para-xylene can be accomplished by conversion, via metal catalysis, of two equivalents of hexene to one equivalent hexane plus one equivalent 2,4-hexadiene. The 2,4-hexadiene can undergo Diels-Alder reaction with ethylene followed by dehydrogenation to yield selectively para-xylene. Hexene can be produced from trimerization of ethylene. Similarly, pentene can be disproportionated to 1,3-pentadiene and pentane.

Inventors: Maurice Brookhart, Michael Findlater, Damien Guironnet
U.S. Pat. Appl. Publ. (2013), US 2013/0237732 A1.
Contact: UNC Office of Technology Development


This invention provides methods and compositions useful for synthesizing alkylaromatics from n-alkanes. Alkyl aromatics are currently synthesized commercially on an enormous scale, typically by the alkylation of arenes with olefins. These feedstocks are generally much more expensive than n-alkanes, and the price of n-alkanes will likely decline further relative to these other hydrocarbon feeds.

Inventors: Alan Goldman, Ritu Ahuja, William Schinski
U.S. Pat. Appl. Publ. (2013), US 2013/0123552 A1.
Contact: Rutgers Office of Technology Commercialization


New catalysts for the deoxygenation of glycerol to 1,3-propanediol have been invented. Glycerol is a co-product of the manufacture of biodiesel and these catalysts could make biodiesel for economic by allowing manufacture of value-added chemicals from low-value glycerol.

Inventors: Karen Goldberg, D. Michael Heinekey, Nandita Weliange, Takiya Ahmed, Eric Camp, Gene Wong, David Lao
PCT Int. Appl. (2013), WO 2013/130972 A1.
Contact: University of Washington Center for Commercialization


A homogeneous catalytic method for the production of methanol from formic acid has been invented. The process for methanol production could be valuable in the following applications, all of which feature hydrogen-free routes to methanol via formic acid: production of methanol from carbon dioxide (electrochemical or photovoltaic generation of formic acid, followed by transformation to methanol); conversion of biomass to methanol via formic acid (catalytic conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to formic acid, followed by transformation to methanol).

Inventors: Karen Goldberg, D. Michael Heinekey, James Mayer, Alexander Miller, Timothy Brewster
PCT/US2014/017465 filed February 20, 2014
Contact: University of Washington Center for Commercialization

Industrial Affiliates Program

Industrial input is critical to guiding our research and transforming CENTC scientific discoveries into practical technology. The CENTC Industrial Affiliates Program was established to form strong relationships with companies throughout the chemical industry and has been an important strategy for translating our research into innovation. Interactions with the Industrial Affiliates has proven to be broadly valuable, with our Affiliates suggesting new targets, participating in collaborative research projects, reviewing CENTC technology for licensing, hiring CENTC trainees, and enthusiastically supporting our diversity, education and outreach efforts.

Industrial Affiliates are invited to send representatives to our annual meetings to hear about new results from CENTC researchers. At these meetings, industrial representatives are also invited to participate in round-table discussions to provide input into the scientific directions of the Center.

For more information or to join the Industrial Affiliates Program, please contact Prof. James Mayer or Prof. Tom Baker

Current Industry Affiliates