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. Surface-modified mesoporous ceramic membranes gas/vapor separations. The surface chemistry of porous ceramic membranes can be modified using silane coupling chemistry and the resulting surface can be either hydrophobic or hydrophilic.  Depending on the conditions, these materials can separate by molecular sieving where small molecules can be separated from mixtures of larger ones or can exhibit reverse selectivity where a larger, heavier molecule can permeate faster than a smaller penetrant. Examples include the separation of butane from methane or CO2 from nitrogen.


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

Research Group

  • Dr. Liqiu Yang (Ph.D. Colorado School of Mines); post-doctoral fellow
  • Thomas (Tommy) F. Fuerst (B.S., University of Colorado Boulder); current graduate student
  • Jake Newsom (B.S. Colorado School of Mines); current graduate student
  • Zhenyu Zhang (Central South University Changsha, China); current graduate student
  • Abigail (Abby) Hentges; undergraduate student
  • Annie Zhang; undergraduate student



  • BS, MS, PhD – University of Colorado Boulder

Selected Publications

  • 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,” Sep. and Purif. Technol., 172, 68-75(2017). http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seppur.2016.07.041
  • Zhang, Ke and J. Douglas Way, “Palladium-Copper Membranes for Hydrogen Separation,” Sep. and Purif. Technol., 186, 39-44(2017).
  • Patki, Neil S., Lundin, Sean-Thomas B. and J. Douglas Way, “Rapid annealing of sequentially plated Pd-Au composite membranes using high pressure hydrogen,” J. Membr. Sci., 513, 197-205(2016). http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.memsci.2016.04.034
  • Coulter, K. E., Way, J. D., Gade, S. K., Chaudhari, S., Alptekin, G. O., DeVoss, S. J., Paglieri, S. N., and W. Pledger, “Sulfur Tolerant PdAu and PdAuPt Alloy Hydrogen Separation Membranes ,” J. Membrane Science, 405-406, 11-19(2012).
  • Dolan, M. D., McLennan, K. G. and J. D. Way, “Diffusion of atomic hydrogen through BCC alloy membranes under non-dilute conditions,” J. Phys. Chem. C, 116, 1512-1518 (2012).
  • Gade, S.K., Chmelka, S. J., Parks, S., Way, J. D. and C. A. Wolden, “Dense carbide/metal composite membranes for hydrogen separations without platinum group metals,” Advanced Materials, 23(31), 3585–3589(2011).
  • Ostwal, M., Singh, R. P., Dec, S. F., Lusk, M. T. and J. D. Way, “3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane functionalized inorganic membranes for high temperature CO2/N2 separation,” J. Membrane Science, 369, 139-147(2011).
  • 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