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Richard A. Kemp, Ph.D.

FINAL Rick Kemp Photo (edited)Richard A. Kemp, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
The University of New Mexico
Principal Member of the Scientific Staff, Sandia National Laboratories

Dr. Kemp has disclosed six inventions to STC and has five pending patent applications with UNM and Sandia National Labs for his carbon dioxide and nanomaterials technologies.

Dr. Kemp’s carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestering technology is a process for recycling waste CO2 into useful organic products such as chemical feedstock. Feedstock refers to any bulk raw material that is used in an industrial process to create a product. The new process uses inexpensive and plentiful metals as catalysts that bind with CO2 temporarily to facilitate the electrochemical conversion of the waste gas back into feedstock.

The easy conversion process is cost efficient because it eliminates the need for expensive metals such as platinum and palladium, and because it can be done at a glassy carbon electrode at room temperature and ambient pressure. It represents a first step in a sustainable approach to reducing atmospheric CO2. In the U.S., CO2 accounts for approximately 82 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Nanomaterials in modern technologies are becoming more common because they have unique mechanical, optical, electrical, magnetic, and catalytic properties that make them highly attractive. Currently, transition metal phosphide (MxPy) nanomaterials have shown promise as anode materials for batteries.

Dr. Kemp’s metal phosphide nanomaterials technology is a method for making metal phosphide (MxPy) and metal (M0) nanomaterials based on molecules known as metal bis[bis(diisopropylphosphino)amides. The molecules are versatile because they can be made from a variety of metals from the periodic table for tailor-made nanomaterials. Synthetic routes to MPx nanomaterials are important for energy applications including batteries, semiconductors, magnets, catalyst, lasers, and photodiodes. This processing route to (MxPy) and metal (M0) avoids high-temperature solid-state reactions, high-temperature solution processing, and detrimental halide contamination products.

Dr. Kemp’s research focuses on synthetic inorganic and organometallic chemistry. His highly collaborative research group is also studying the activation of carbon dioxide (CO2) using main group metal amido complexes in order to eventually convert these metal carbamates into organic molecules such as isocyanates or carbodiimides, useful in the chemical industry. Other areas of study include chemically “sequestering” CO2 into stable complexes under mild conditions to form new compounds or ligands that contain large amounts of CO2; “re-using” CO2 as a transportation fuel or fuel additive; and oxidation of olefins using a “green” catalytic cycle with oxygen (O2) as the oxidant.


Carbon Dioxide Transformation Facilitated by Earth Abundant Metal
Proppant Compositions and Methods of Use
Novel Metal-Containing Anions for Ionic Liquids
Methods of Using N-Containing Compounds with Carbon Black to Form Carbon Nanofibers
Metal Phosphide Nanomaterials Prepared from M[N(PPri2)2]2