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UCLA Chemical Engineer Receives NSF Early Career Award for Carbon Capture Research


Carlos Morales-Guio

UCLA Samueli
Carlos Morales-Guio, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, has received an early career award from the National Science Foundation.

Jan 17, 2024

UCLA Samueli Newsroom

Carlos Morales-Guio, an assistant professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award, the agency’s highest honor for faculty members in the early stages of their teaching and research careers. 

The five-year, $680,000 award will fund Morales-Guio’s research into carbon capture technologies designed to help achieve net-zero emissions. Specifically, the project will focus on measuring and understanding the chemical reaction and transport kinetics involved in copper catalysts employed to transform carbon dioxide into fuels and chemicals through electrolysis — a process that uses electricity to chemically break down water into hydrogen and oxygen.

The NSF grant will also support the integration of the research findings into the training of undergraduate and graduate students at UCLA, as well as outreach activities with community colleges, minority-serving institutions, national labs and industries in California.

At UCLA, Morales-Guio directs the Laboratory of Electrochemical Systems Engineering. His research interest lies in electrochemical catalysis, particularly with respect to energy and chemical transformations for sustainable energy applications. He also serves as the equity, diversity and inclusion officer for the school’s Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department. 

Additionally, Morales-Guio is a project investigator with two major research centers — the UC Center for Direct Conversion of Captured CO₂ into Fuel and Chemicals based in UC Davis and the Center for Closing the Carbon Cycle at UC Irvine. 

Prior to joining the UCLA faculty in 2018, Morales-Guio was a postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford University. He earned his bachelor’s in chemical engineering from Osaka University in Japan, and obtained his M.S. and Ph.D. in chemistry and chemical engineering, respectively, from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. His previous honors includes a 2020 Scialog Collaborative Innovation Award.

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