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Advancing a Cleaner, Greener Future

The Feng Group at Duke is dedicated to addressing grand challenges in energy, climate, and environmental sustainability by working at the intersection of materials, photo- and electrochemical, and polymer science and engineering.


Our primary research areas include:

         1. Active Adsorption and its Applications in Climate, Environment, and Energy

         2. High-Throughput Discovery and Automated Optimization of Sequenced and Degradable Polymers

         3. Non-Equilibrium Porous Materials and Their Applications in Adsorption & Catalysis

Our goal is to develop innovative strategies for capturing and utilizing carbon dioxide directly from the air using renewable energy, constructing efficient catalysts with binuclear active sites, and converting carbon dioxide into value-added fuels, polymers, and products. This will help to advance sustainability, decarbonization, and clean energy.


Active Adsorption

Building upon our recently discovered mode of adsorption—mechanisorption—we aim to expand its applications and use this unique mechanism to drive continuous adsorption of carbon dioxide from low-concentration regions. Our focus is on developing electrochemical tools to create hierarchical sorbents and membranes for active and repeated gas pumping using renewable energy input.

We recently discovered the first fundamentally new mode of adsorption—(active) mechanisorption—since the observation of physisorption and chemisorption in the 1930s.

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 Degradable Polymer

The Feng Group is interested in accelerating degradable polymer discovery by developing advanced engineering solutions and collaborating with statistical and computational researchers. We aim to create optimization techniques and employ machine learning models to predict ideal conditions for high-performance catalysts, ultimately promoting sustainable and precise polymer upcycling.


Sustainable Catalysis

We strive to achieve a sustainable carbon cycle by converting CO2 into valuable products like ethanol (EtOH) using hydrogenation or electroreduction. Our team is focused on discovering novel, efficient catalysts capable of high-yield EtOH production through CO2 reduction, using renewable energy resources. We seek to elucidate cooperative interactions among binding sites, reacting molecules, and surrounding environments to guide the generation of high-density and high-value fuels.

Join the Club

Duke: A model for climate- and sustainability-fluent change makers.
In 2024, Duke will be among the first universities to reach Carbon Neutrality: offset up to 82,000 tons/yr of CO2

Duke Climate Commitment:

Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative (2020 Report):

Climate Research Across Duke:

Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability:

Duke's Materials Initiative:

Duke Forest:

Nicholas School of the Environment:

Duke MEMS:

Duke Chem:


Our group aspires to draw inspiration from trees and other biological systems

in order to effectively capture carbon directly from the air,

emulating nature's efficient carbon sequestration processes.

Duke Forest

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