J. Douglas Way

Emeritus Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Douglas Way

The central theme to all of my research projects is the application, study, and synthesis of new materials such as metals (Pd, V, Ta, Nb and their alloys), microporous oxides (crystalline and amorphous), and ionic polymers for use in novel separation processes. The separation processes currently under study in my laboratory include inorganic membranes, catalytic membrane reactors, and surface modified porous oxides applied to energy, environmental and chemical processing applications.

There is growing industrial interest in the use of synthetic membranes for gas and liquid separations. In our current work, we are trying to understand the factors that control the transport of small molecules in dense and porous membranes.  Specific examples include:

  1. Fabrication and characterization of Pd alloy membranes for the separation of hydrogen at temperatures of 300 to 700 °C from synthesis gas produced by gasification of coal or biomass. We are developing Pd binary and ternary alloys that resist poisoning in the presence of carbon and sulfur species in the synthesis gas.
  2. Design and fabrication of Pd alloys for very high temperature operation, above 500 °C.
  3. Metallic membranes for the separation of hydrogen that have no Pt group metals such as Pd, Pt, Ru, Rh, Ir, etc. These membranes are based on Group V metals such as V, Ta, or Nb and their alloys, and incorporate hydrogen dissociation catalysts based on transition metal carbides and sulfides such as Mo2C or TiC.
  4. Membrane reactors for the synthesis and decomposition of NH3, the production of hydrogen via steam reforming of methane and/or dry reforming of methane, and production of aromatics from light alkanes (example is dehydroaromatization of methane).
  5. Dual phase membranes, consisting of molten alkali metal carbonates infiltrated into an oxygen ion or mixed conducting substrate, are a promising technology for high temperature CO2 separations and other energy conversion applications such as membrane reactors. Recently, my group has developed a new fabrication technique for dual phase membranes capable of high temperature CO2 transport using an oxygen ion conducting ceramic combined with an electronic conducting metal layer. An oxygen ion conducting, 4YSZ porous substrate tube was coated with a thin layer of metal (Pd/Ag or Ni) using electroless plating to prepare a mixed conducting (oxygen ion and electronic) support for dual phase membranes.


224 Alderson Hall
1613 Illinois Street
Golden, CO 80401
Office: (303) 273-3519
FAX: (303) 273-3730

Research Group

  • Rok Sitar, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
  • Zhenyu Zhang, Central South University Changsha, China
  • Hope Wikoff, Undergraduate Researcher



  • BS, MS, PhD – University of Colorado Boulder

Selected Publications

  • Zhang, C. Karakaya, R. J. Kee, J. D. Way and C. A. Wolden, “Barium-promoted ruthenium catalysts on yittria-stabilized zirconia supports for ammonia synthesis”, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 7, 18038−18047 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1021/acssuschemeng.9b04929
  • Zhang, Z., Liguori, S, Fuerst, T. F., Way, J. D., and C. A. Wolden, “Efficient Ammonia Decomposition in a Catalytic Membrane Reactor to Enable Hydrogen Storage and Utilization,” ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 7, 5975-5985( 2019). http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acssuschemeng.8b06065
  • Patki, Neil S., Manerbino, A., Way, J. D. and S. Ricote, “Galvanic hydrogen pumping performance of copper electrodes fabricated by electroless plating on a BaZr0.9-xCexY0.1O3-δ proton-conducting ceramic membrane,” Solid State Ionics, 317C, 256-262(2018). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssi.2018.01.031
  • Patki, Neil S., Lundin Sean-Thomas and J. Douglas Way, ” Apparent activation energy for hydrogen permeation and its relation to the composition of homogeneous PdAu alloy thin-film membranes,” Separation and Purification Technology, 191, 370-374(2018). http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seppur.2017.09.047
  • Fuerst, T. F., Petsalis, E., Wolden, C. A. and J. D. Way, “Application of TiC in Vanadium-Based Hydrogen Membranes,” & Eng. Chem. Res., 57(47), 16084-16094(2018). http://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.iecr.8b02452
  • Fuerst, T. F., Petsalis, E., Lundin, S.-T., Wilcox, J., Wolden, C. A. and J. D. Way, “Experimental and Theoretical Insights into the Potential of V2O3 Surface Coatings for Hydrogen Permeable Vanadium Membranes,” J. Phys. Chem C, 122(6), 3488-3496(2018). http://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b12132
  • Lundin, S.-T. B., Patki, N. S., Fuerst, T. F., Wolden, C. A. and J. D. Way, “Reduction of Mg from a MgO/MgAl2O4 support by atomic hydrogen permeation through thin-film Pd membranes,” Membr. Sci,, 541, 312-320, (2017).
  • Lundin, S.-T. B., Law, J. O. Patki, N. S., Wolden, C. A. and J. D. Way, “Glass frit sealing method for pinhole defects in Pd-based composite membranes with application in ammonia decomposition membrane reactors,” and Purif. Technol., 172, 68-75(2017). http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seppur.2016.07.041
  • Hatlevik, Ø., Gade, S. K., Keeling, M. K., Thoen, P. M. and J. D. Way, ” Palladium and Palladium Alloy Membranes for Hydrogen Separation and Production:  History, Fabrication Strategies, and Current Performance,” Separation and Purification Technology, 73, 59-64(2010).
  • Collins, J. P. and J. D. Way, “Preparation and Characterization of Palladium-Ceramic Composite Membranes,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 32, 3006-3013 (1993).

Google Scholar Citations Page

Honors and Awards

  • 2014 AIChE Institute Award for Excellence in Industrial Gases Technology