University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering


National Radio Show Interviews Chemical Engineering Chairman About a Natural Gas Catalyst For Boosting Clean, Affordable Transportation


Rashda Khan
UH led research team is working on a natural gas catalyst for cleaner, cheaper transportation.
UH led research team is working on a natural gas catalyst for cleaner, cheaper transportation.

What’s not to like about U.S. produced fuel that’s affordable, better for the environment and readily available?

The producers of BYUradio's Top of Mind with Julie Rose, a daily, live news talk and interview show, liked the idea of a catalyst for natural gas vehicles so much that they featured Michael Harold, the M.D. Anderson Professor and chair of chemical and biomolecular engineering department at the University of Houston, on a recent episode.

The show reaches a national audience of Brigham Young University alumni and affiliates, as well as satellite radio subscribers looking for smart, informative, and uplifting radio content.

Harold, who is an expert in catalytic reaction engineering, is leading a team chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy for a $2 million project to develop and optimize a lower-cost, more efficient catalyst to eliminate unreacted methane.

Other members of the research team include: Lars Grabow, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UH, and researchers from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Virginia and CDTi Inc., an emissions technology company based in Oxnard, Calif.

Traditional vehicle exhaust catalysts rely on platinum, palladium and rhodium, which are effective but expensive.

The team is working on a “four-way catalyst,” building on the three-way catalysts used with gasoline and diesel engines. A critical aspect of the project is to reduce the use of precious metals, lowering the cost.

The new catalyst will test the use of metal oxides containing lower-cost elements iron, cobalt, copper, manganese, nickel and others.

“We’re working on something that’s important for the country,” Harold said. “We have a surplus of natural gas, and we are helping break down barriers for its expanded use.”

You can hear the interview, which aired earlier in August, here:



Related News Stories

Distinguished Alumnus, Bilfinger Executive to be UH Cullen College Fall 2018 Commencement Speaker

Terrance “Terri” Ivers, P.E. (BSME ’80) is the fall 2018 UH Cullen College of Engineering commencement speaker.

Terrance “Terri” Ivers, P.E. (BSME ’80), is coming home to the UH Cullen College of Engineering as the featured speaker at its commencement on Dec. 13 at the NRG Arena. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from UH in 1980 and has remained involved in the Cullen College community throughout the course of his 37 year-long career.

Establishing Immunotherapy For Pediatric Liver Cancer

One of the most common forms of liver cancer in adolescents is hepatocellular carcinoma in which patient survival rates are under 30 percent. Photo courtesy: GettyImages

T-Cell Editor Creating Powerful Immunotherapy Weapon


As part of a $6 million effort to establish new therapies for high-risk pediatric liver cancer, Navin Varadarajan, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the Cullen College of Engineering, will modify T cells to recognize and kill glypican-3, a molecule found in liver cancer cells.