Inventor Spotlight: Lauren Greenlee

Professor Lauren Greenlee, left, working in the laboratory.
University Relations

Professor Lauren Greenlee, left, working in the laboratory.

Lauren Greenlee is transforming the way water enhances our lives. Her research at the University of Arkansas has led to eight active disclosures of her inventions, five active patent applications and is helping to spur the university's efforts to commercialize innovations and drive the state's economy.

Greenlee, associate professor and Ralph E. Martin Leadership Chair in chemical engineering, has led or participated in several projects that involve water — many of which have garnered national attention and resulted in significant funding.

One of the most notable is an innovative project to recycle wastewater to produce nutrients and fertilizer for farmers. The project is backed by both a $4.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture and a $2.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation. Greenlee, graduate student Shelby Foster and their startup company CatalyzeH2O also received a $225,000 grant from the National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research program to design a new wastewater treatment platform.

Greenlee also has discovered ways water can better produce the chemicals we rely on. She and her colleagues at Case Western Reserve and Pennsylvania State universities received a $599,373 award from the U.S. Department of Energy to study an alternative method for making ammonia. In addition, she is working with Jingyi Chen, associate professor of physical chemistry, to develop catalytic electrochemical processes, or electrolyzers, that can be used for commercial production of ammonia. They are supported in this work by a $450,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

Greenlee and Chen also collaborated on research that found that nanoparticles composed of nickel and iron are more effective and efficient than other, more costly materials when used as catalysts in the production of hydrogen fuel through water electrolysis. Greenlee and CatalyzeH2O also partnered with Hudson Beyzavi, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, to investigate the use of nanoporous structures to detect and remove contaminants in water. Their research was supported with an award from the U.S. Army Small Business Innovation Research Program.

About the University of Arkansas Technology Ventures: The University of Arkansas Technology Ventures has recently initiated a program to commercialize a wide range of research tools, whether patented or not. Technology Ventures manages, protects and commercializes the intellectual property portfolio of the University of Arkansas. Technology Ventures serves the university's faculty, staff and students as well as external inventors and entrepreneurs to disseminate knowledge, technology and products to the public market to generate revenue and future research support. In this way, we also serve the public as it is our responsibility to enable public utilization of products derived from university research. 


Andy Albertson, director of communications and entrepreneurial support
Office of Economic Development


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