Portrait of Prof. Robert Farrauto  

Robert J. Farrauto


926C S.W. Mudd
Mail Code 4711

Tel(212) 854-6390

Research Interests

Heterogeneous catalysts and process for a sustainable environment, air pollution abatement, dual function materials for CO2 capture and conversion to fuels, and new catalysts and , new catalysts and processes for catalytic hydrogen generation.

Farrauto focuses on technical applications directed towards solving environmental problems. His research is both applied and fundamental and is focused on world needs. Exclusively funded by industrial companies, his research allows students to see catalysis applied to problem solving. His group studies dual function materials (DFM) for capturing CO2 and catalytic conversion to re-useable fuels thereby decreasing green-house gas emissions. This decreases the need to extract additional new carbon from the ground while utilizing stored (H2) generated by water electrolysis generated from excess renewable energy, such as solar and wind. He has also developed a new process for decreasing methane emissions from natural gas fueled vehicles using novel technology. The mechanism and in situ regeneration of deactivated three-way gasoline automobile catalysts has been reported in numerous publications.  His research has led to new commercial catalysts and compact reactor designs for the future hydrogen economy utilizing fuel cells.

Farrauto received his BS in chemistry from Manhattan College in 1964, and his PhD in chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1968. He spent 44 years in the catalytic industry (1968-2012) and has developed a number of commercial products. He holds 60 U.S. patents and his research has appeared in 125 peer-reviewed publications. After retiring from BASF as a Vice President of Research, he has been Professor of Practice in the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia Engineering since 2012.


  • 44 years in the catalytic industry (1968-2012). Developed a number of commercial products. 60 US patents, 125 peer reviewed publications.


  • Professor professional practice, earth and environmental engineering Columbia University in the City of New York, 2012 – 
  • Research vice president, BASF Catalysts (formerly Engelhard), 2008-retired 2012
  • Research fellow, Engelhard (now BASF), 1990-2008
  • Section head, Engelhard, 1976-1995
  • Research chemist, Corning Glass Works, 1968-1976 


  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers
  • American Chemical Society 


  • Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award, Columbia University in the City of New York, 2016 
  • Ciapetta Lectureship Award sponsored by the North American Catalysis Society, 2008
  • Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Practice Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2005
  • International Precious Metal Institute (IPMI) Award for Outstanding Contributions in the field of precious metal catalysis, 2001
  • Cross Canada Lectureship Award sponsored by the Canadian Catalysis Society, 1998  
  • Co-author of three textbooks on environmental and industrial catalysis


  • Emi Leunga*, Akiko Shimizua, Katayun Barmakb, Robert Farrautoa “CO oxidation with CuO promoted by Nb2O5” Catalyst Communications (2017).
  • Zheng, Q and Farrauto, Robert J. “In situ regeneration of Rhodium in three way catalysts by aqueous ethanol injection for sustained methane emissions abatement” Catalysis Communications 95 (2017) 63-66.
  • Wang, S., Shrunk, E., Mahajan, H. and Farrauto, Robert J. “The Role of Ruthenium in CO2 Capture and Catalytic Conversion to Fuel by Dual Function Materials (DFM)” Catalysts 7 (2017) 88-101.  
  • Xiang, Wendi, Han, Xioachen, Alstordotter, Jennifer, and Farrauto, Robert J. “Catalysts promoted with niobium oxide for air pollution abatement” Catalysts (2017) 7, 144.
  • Leung, Emi, Lin, Qiyuan, Farrauto, R. and Barmak, K “Enhanced oxygen storage and redox properties by niobium-doped oxygen storage materials for three-way automobile exhaust catalytic converters” Catalysis Today.  
  • Zheng, Qinghe, Farrauto, Robert and Anh Nguyen “Adsorption and Methanation of Flue Gas with Dual Functional Materials: A Parametric Study, Industrial and Engineering Research 55 (issue 24) 6768-6776 (2016).
  • Duyar, Melis, Ramachandran, Arvind, Wang, Christine, Farrauto, Robert J. “Kinetics of CO2 methanation over Ru/Al2O3 and implications for renewable energy storage applications” Journal of CO2 Utilization 12 (2015) 27-33.
  • Zheng, Qinghe, Farrauto, Robert, Deeba, Michel, Valsamakis, Ioannis, “Part 1: A comparative thermal aging study on the regenerability of Rh/Al2O3 and Rh/CexOy as model catalysts for automotive three way catalysts” Catalysts (2015) 5, 1770-1796.
  • Zheng, Qinghe, Farrauto, Robert, Deeba, Michel, Part II: Oxidative thermal aging of Pd/Al2O3 and Pd/CexOy in automotive three way catalysts: The effects of fuel shutoff and attempted regeneration” Catalysts (2015) 5, 1797-1814.
  • Duyar, Melis, S., Trevino, Martha Arellano, and Farrauto, Robert J. “Dual function materials for CO2 capture and conversion using renewable H2” Applied Catalysis B; Environmental 168 (2015) 370-376.