About Us

Our team Meliora Emissions, is named after the motto of University of Rochester, Meliora, which means ever better. The team consists of students from first-year undergraduates to Ph.D candidates. All team members share the vision of reducing atmospheric CO2 by making emissions ‘ever better.’ Our project is focused on designing a process to capture CO2 directly from air, followed by thermocatalytic conversion of CO2 to olefins and aromatics. These products are typically derived from emission intensive petroleum-based processes, but our proposed technology demonstrates the potential for carbon-negative chemical synthesis from CO2. The adsorption and conversion of CO2 use abundant and low-cost materials to produce olefins and aromatics with energy derived from renewable sources. Implementation of our project is expected to support one PhD-level research project, at least three senior design projects, and lead to the development of K-12 curricular activities that inspire the next generation to achieve Meliora Emissions.

Team Mentor

Dr. Marc D. Porosoff, Assistant Professor Department of Chemical Engineering


Team Members

  1. Jane Ngozi Agwara, PhD Chemical Engineering Candidate: I have a BS and MS degree in Chemical Engineering. I am currently a chemical engineering Ph.D. candidate at the University of Rochester. My research focuses on the design of heterogeneous catalysts for CO2 conversion to useful chemicals and fuels. I have two peer-reviewed publications.
  2. Mitchell Juneau, PhD Candidate in Chemical Engineering: I grew up in Goffstown, New Hampshire and in 2017, received my BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire. Currently I am a PhD candidate at the University of Rochester, where my research focuses on catalytic reduction of CO2 over supported transition metal carbides.
  3. Renjie Liu, Ph.D. Candidate in Chemical Engineering: I am a Ph.D. candidate in Chemical Engineering at the University of Rochester. My research interests include C1 resources (CO2, CO, CH4) capture and conversion to chemicals and fuels through applications of heterogeneous catalysis. I have authored 4 peer-reviewed papers and presented at several international conferences in relevant areas.
  4. Shane Michtavy, Ph.D. Candidate in Chemical Engineering: Firstgeneration college graduate, received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Rochester (2020). Currently, he is a Ph.D. candidate in Chemical Engineering at the University of Rochester. Research interest: heterogeneous catalysis and computational chemistry/informatics.
  5. Daphna Yaffe, Chemical Engineering Senior: I discovered my passion for sustainability during my time at the UofR. I work in Professor Porosoff’s lab, where I research tungsten carbide as a potential catalyst for reverse water gas shift reaction. I hope to apply the knowledge I have gained at the UofR to contribute to this project.
  6. Caiden Larsen, Mechanical Engineering Junior: I am from Albany, NY, and have been interested in how engineers can take direct action against climate change. I will be looking to use my modeling and computer aided design skills to visualize the designs and processes behind the team’s carbon capture strategy.
  7. Theo Thompson, Chemical Engineering Junior: I have a great interest in renewable energy and infrastructure and am excited to problem solve with others in order to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate change. I have experience in project leadership, programming, and event planning.
  8. Danielle Getz, Chemical Engineering Sophomore: I am from Rochester, New York and focus on sustainable innovation both locally and globally. I am interested in carbon utilization catalyst research and climate change mitigation and hope to finish a NAE Grand Challenge in Carbon Sequestration by the end of my Undergraduate experience.
  9. Stephany Correa-Diaz, Chemical Engineering Sophomore: I am from Las Vegas, Nevada and want to work with renewable energy and carbon sequestration. I hope to continue research in these areas to improve the sustainability of society. I have experience in lab research, manuscript writing, and project management.
  10. Kai Avni, Mechanical Engineering Junior: I was born in NYC and raised in Panama. I’m passionate about sustainability and love seeing projects develop and the impact they have on people and the environment. I have experience managing projects, writing reports, and breaking down complex problems into manageable steps.
  11. Humfrey Kimanya, Mechanical Engineering Junior: I was born in Ghent, Belgium and raised in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. My interest is in integrating CAD modeling using Finite Element Analysis, with eco-friendly initiatives. My research experience and 2020 Solar Decathlon participation highlight my ability in non-invasive product designing and material testing techniques that are important in this project.
  12. Yiwen Sun, Chemical Engineering Sophomore: I was born and raised in China. I have been interested in chemical labs since I was 13. During my high school, I initiated the dead battery conversion in three cities. With the activity background, I hope I can try to improve the environment that we live in.
  13. Samuel Meil, Chemical Engineering Junior: I was born and raised in Indiana, Pennsylvania. My passion for sustainability comes from spending my childhood outside and learning about how the environment is threatened by climate change. I work in Dr. Porosoff’s Lab studying single atom alloys and bimetallic catalysts for use in CO/CO2 Fischer Tropsch Synthesis.
  14. Jenna Diamico, Geomechanics Senior: I was born in Buffalo, NY. I have laboratory and research experience in the geosciences department at the University. I am also interested in studying how humans and the environment interact, especially here in Rochester, which has led me to pursue a minor in Sustainability and Social Sciences.
  15. Kareem Abdelmaqsoud, Chemical Engineering senior: An Egyptian international student. I am currently working as an undergraduate researcher at the White Lab and the Vlachos lab. My research interest is using deep learning tools to speed up molecules and materials discovery in areas of catalysis and drug design.
  16. Anjana Seshadri, Chemical Engineering Senior: I am from Rochester, New York and am deeply interested in sustainability and renewable energy. I look forward to applying what I have learned about separation processes, thermodynamics, and reactor design to this project. I have experience with computational research, technical reports, and finding sustainable solutions through interdisciplinary engineering projects.
  17. Rebecca Choi, Chemical Engineering Sophomore: I am from a small town called Columbus Grove, Ohio. My involvement in Engineers for a Sustainable World highlights my interest in fighting climate change. Also, this summer I had an internship at Schnipke Precision Molding where I was introduced to plastics in a manufacturing setting.
  18. James O’Neill, Chemical Engineering Senior: Born in Abington Massachusetts my parents instilled in me a love for the environment. These passions allowed me to pursue chemical engineering focused on renewable energy. As an intern for Ametek Brookfield I learned about the engineering process, and I aim to use that experience to help the group.
  19. Melyssa Correa-Diaz, Chemical Engineering Sophomore: I am from Las Vegas, Nevada. I would like to work in environmental research. I’ve contributed to local sustainability efforts by working on environmental initiatives like the Ecorep 2021 Envision Climate Summit. I have a strong interest and background in chemistry from my freshman organic chemistry and chemical engineering courses.
  20. Allison Roll, Chemical Engineering Sophomore: I am a passionate advocate for sustainable food systems and circular economies. In 2019, I presented my nutrigenetics text analytics study at the AMIA Annual Symposium as a selected High School Scholar. I hope to use my chemical instrumentation and data mining/analysis skills to conduct sustainability research at UofR.
  21. Samantha Kapushy, Chemical and Mechanical Engineering Senior: I am very passionate about sustainability. I have completed courses on Renewable Energy, atmospheric geochemistry, and have become an NAE Grand Challenges Scholar by completing a project focused on nuclear fusion. I am excited to participate in the XPrize competition with my team and help create a more sustainable future.
  22. Nhuja Maharjan, Chemical Engineering Sophomore: I was born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal. I work under Dr.Porosoff’s lab assisting in synthesizing and characterizing catalysts for CO2 adsorption and Fischer Tropsch synthesis. I am interested in the economics and technicality of sustainability and energy applications.
  23. Daniel Carter, Chemical Engineering Senior: Born and raised in Wellesley, MA, I had a passion for the environment and chemistry since I was very young. I started studying here at the University of Rochester in 2018 and am currently a senior. I also take particular interest in coding (python specifically) and chemical reactor design.
  24. Danielle Newman, Chemical Engineering Senior: My passion for sustainability started with a course about renewable energy at Reykjavik University. My theoretical and laboratory experience from classes and working as a chemistry TA will offer a unique insight for the group to actively participate and learn from the project.
  25. Jeremy Rivkin, Chemical Engineering Senior: I am from Baltimore, Maryland and have found an emerging passion in technologies capable of reducing CO2 emissions. I am currently working in Professor Wyatt Tenhaeff’s research group on optical properties of polymers and look forward to expanding my technical knowledge of catalyzed reaction systems.
  26. Hanyia Ahmed, Electrical and Computer Engineering Senior: I was born in NYC. I am interested in renewable energy infrastructure and combating climate change. I have been a part of Engineers For A Sustainable World for two years and worked on projects with them. I am also minoring in Sustainability and Computer Science.
  27. Aditi Seshadri, Chemical Engineering Senior: I am from Rochester, NY and enjoy developing solutions to sustainability-related problems. My knowledge of chemical engineering thermodynamics and reactor design, and experience with computational research and modeling will help me contribute to this project. I have previously worked on engineering teams to develop community-based solutions to environmental problems.
  28. Levi Sunday-Lefkowitz, Chemical Engineering Senior: During my time at the University of Rochester I’ve been involved in several renewable energy and sustainability projects, both on campus and at home in Wilkes-Barre, PA. I’ve worked at an environmental conservation firm as well as constructed a high efficiency solar water heater for the University’s sustainable energy course.
  29. Wesley Huang, Electrical and Computer Engineering Senior: I am from Vancouver Canada and I am interested in sustainability projects. I am minoring in Computer Science and would like to learn more about sensors and circuit design. I am an ECE TA this semester and love working with others.
  30. Hahneul Shin, Electrical and Computer engineering senior: Minoring in Biomedical Engineering, I am a South Korean American working as a TA and as a Research Assistant for a few ECE classes. I am excited to work on this project to create a better future.
  31. Zilin Wang. Electrical and Computer Engineering Senior: I am from China and am interested in Environmental protection-related projects. I work as TA for several ECE courses and I am experienced with working in a team. I also minor in computer science and love to learn how to build a complete electric system from hardware to software.
  32. Zidan Yang, Chemical Engineering senior: I am from China and would like to work on sustainability research. I have worked for CABOT during the past summer and realized environmental issues are important. I want to contribute what I have learned in CHE courses into the project about reducing CO2 emissions.
  33. Sophie Sweet, Chemical Engineering Sophomore: I was born in Westbrook, Maine, which is a big part of why I am interested in sustainability. Growing up I was always hiking with my family and enjoying Maine’s beautiful scenery. I’m interested in carbon sequestration as part of a solution to climate change.

Assisting Professors

  1. Marc D. Porosoff, Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering: Marc Porosoff is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at University of Rochester. At Rochester, Porosoff and his research group investigate catalysts for CO2 hydrogenation. Porosoff is mentoring the team and helping them make Meliora Emissions a reality.
  2. Jack G. Mottley, Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering: Jack Mottley has won several awards and recognition for teaching and has also been very involved with various student design projects. He has filed several patent applications, including one that was issued for a Signal Generating Endotracheal Tube, that could monitor the positioning of an ET Tube and sound an alarm if it was displaced.
  3. Melodie Lawton, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering (instructional): Prof. Melodie I. Lawton is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at UR. She is the instructor for ChE 255: Chemical Engineering Senior Design and is fully supportive of the senior design projects that Meliora Emissions plans to offer, detailed in the project plan.
  4. Kelley F. Douglas, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering (instructional): Prof. F. Douglas Kelly is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at UR. Prof. Kelley is the former instructor of senior design and has decades of experience in industry from working for Kodak. His insight is valuable to the Meliora Emissions team.