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College of Engineering and Computing

Faculty and Staff

John R. Regalbuto

Title: Professor, Chemical Engineering
CoEE Endowed Chair in Renewable Fuels
Department: Chemical Engineering
College of Engineering and Computing
Website: Research Group
Phone: 803-777-5501
Fax: 803-777-8265

Swearingen Engineering Center
Room 3C13
301 Main Street
Columbia, SC  29208

Headshot of Professor John Regalbuto


Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 1986.

M.S., University of Notre Dame, 1983.

B.S., Texas A&M University, 1981.


One of the major research avenues of our group is the study of the preparation of solid catalysts. A typical example is the platinum or rhodium containing automobile catalytic converter used to eliminate carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, and hydrocarbons from auto exhaust. Solid catalysts are usually composed of a metal or metal oxide deposited onto or supported on a high surface area, refractory oxide, which produces small, well anchored metal particles with a maximum amount of exposed metal surface.

Our current efforts involve the use and comparison of different methods for synthesis of a variety of catalysts especially using Strong Electrostatic Adsorption ( SEA ) in producing catalysts with high dispersion. The studies are also done to rigorously and systematically verify an underlying theory we have revived from the colloid science literature to predict how much metal will be adsorbed by the oxide for a full range of liquid conditions. We also investigate coupled methods for catalyst synthesis especially in the cases of bimetallic and bifunctional catalysts.

In a second vein of work, we look at a further step of catalyst preparation. After impregnation and drying, the catalyst is put through a series of heat and chemical treatments to activate the metal. We study how the shape and chemical structure of the deposited metal particles change as a function of pretreatment conditions. In some cases the size and shape of particles can be controlled. For these studies we use various types of characterization techniques such as electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction.

Selected Publications

  • "The sea change in US biofuels" funding: from cellulosic ethanol to green gasoline, J.R. Regalbuto, Biofuels, Bioprod. Bioref., 5 ( 2011 ) 495.
  • "A fundamental study of Pt impregnation of carbon: Adsorption equilibrium and particle synthesis", X. Hao; S. Barnes, J.R. Regalbuto, J. Catal., 279 ( 2011 ) 48.
  • "Selective adsorption of manganese onto cobalt for optimized Mn/Co/TiO2 Fischer-Tropsch Catalysts", T.E. Feltes, L. Espinosa-Alonso, E. de Smit, L. D'Souza, R.J. Meyer, B.M. Weckhuysen, J.R. Regalbuto, J. Catal., 270 ( 2010 ) 95.
  • "Toward a Molecular Understanding of Noble Metal Catalyst Impregnation", J. R. Regalbuto, M. Schrier, X. Hao, W. A. Spieker, J. G. Kim, J. T. Miller, A. J. Kropf, Stud. Surf. Sci. Catal., 143 ( 2002 ) 45.
  • "A Scientific Description of Pt adsorption onto Alumina", J. R. Regalbuto, K. Agashe, A. Navada, M. L. Bricker, Q. Chen, Stud. Surf. Sci. Catal., 118 ( 1998 ) 147.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.