Welcome to the Kenis Group!

Reactor and reaction engineering for electrochemical manufacturing and nanomaterial discovery

We seek to address critical topics in advanced manufacturing , such as carbon-neutral energy storage and transport, closed-loop chemical production, and autonomous chemical synthesis.



Research Opportunities in the Kenis Group

Postdoctoral Candidates

Please direct communications to Prof. Kenis.


PhD Applicants

Please note that ChBE at UIUC does NOT admit PhD students directly to labs. If you would like to work with us, you must apply to the department and be admitted, then go through the lab selection process. For more information on applying to the department, please visit the ChBE website or contact the Graduate Program Coordinator.



Below please find projects for which we are actively recruiting undergradutes. If you are interested in an area of research not listed here, please send an email to the lab manager.

Autonomous Synthesis: This project focuses on acceleration of workflows for materials synthesis and characterization. Knowledge of Python and completion of introductory ChemE courses are desired.
Interested students should contact Jeff Xu with a resume and brief statement of interest.



Electrochemical Engineering

Accelerating the transition to carbon-neutral chemical manufacturing via scalable engineering approaches.


CO2 Capture and Electrochemical Conversion at Scale

In order to mitigate the effects of rising CO2 levels on global climate, our group investigates various ways to sequester CO2 and utilize it for synthesis of value-added intermediates. Our work in this area primarily focuses on capturing CO2 directly from the atmosphere and using it in industrial-scale conversions.


Researchers in CO2 Capture and Conversion


Electrification of Chemical Manufacturing

The chemical manufacturing industry contributes significantly to global CO2 emissions, and electrification is a promising method for sustainably synthesizing many of the chemicals currently produced using fossil fuels. Our work in this area primarily focuses on scale-up of electrochemical hydrogen production and fine chemical production from biomass.


Researchers in Electrochemical Manufacturing


Autonomous Synthesis

Accelerating materials screening and discovery via generalizable autonomous approaches.

Materials such as quantum dots are utilized in devices as ubiquitous as televisions; however, approaches to improve their properties are hindered by large parameter spaces and inconsistencies in synthesis methods. Our work in this area primarily focuses on the use of autonomous reactors to reproducibly explore large parameter spaces and generate fundamental insights on materials characterization and synthesis.


Researchers in Autonomous Synthesis


Previous Efforts: A Brief History of Research in the Kenis Group

The Kenis Research Group at Illinois has operated on the cutting edge of multidisciplinary innovations in process technology and chemical production for over 20 years.

We began studying microreactors and microfluidic tools for applications in biology, and from there expanded into microfluidic fuel cells.

This led to a seminal paper on flow reactors for CO2 electrolysis, and over a decade of research in CO2 reduction and utilization. Simultaneously, we explored the application of these flow reactors for quantum dot synthesis.

Since 2019, we have expanded our focus to include other electrolysis processes as well as autonomous materials synthesis and characterization.

Want to know more?

We would love to hear from you! Please reach out for more information on open positions, collaboration opportunities, and other questions.

Email us!