Washington University, St. LouisEngineering

Richard Axelbaum

The Stifel & Quinette Jens Professor of Environmental Engineering Science

Professor Axelbaum is currently the Director of the Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL). He also heads the Laboratory for Advanced Combustion and Energy Research and served as associate director of the Center for Materials Innovation from 2005 to 2008. From 1998 to 2007, he was chairman and chief scientific advisor for AP Materials, Inc., a startup company he founded that specialized in flame synthesis of nanopowders. Cabot Corporation acquired the company in August of 2007.

Professor Axelbaum has over 80 peer-reviewed publications and holds four patents. Prior to joining WUSTL in 1990 he was a research associate and lecturer at Princeton University. He has worked for General Electric and Barry-Wehmiller, and in 2006 was a visiting professor at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.


Professor Axelbaum studies combustion phenomena, ranging from oxy-coal combustion to flame synthesis of nanotubes. His studies of fossil fuel combustion focus on understanding the formation of pollutants, such as soot, and then using this understanding to develop novel approaches to eliminating them. Recently, his efforts have been focused on addressing global concerns over carbon dioxide emissions by developing approaches to carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Axelbaum’s synthesis research has yielded methods of producing stable metal nanoparticles and single-walled carbon nanotubes in flames. His present research in materials synthesis is directed towards producing next-generation battery materials for electric vehicles. Xtend Energy has recently acquired a licensed for the technology developed under this research.

Professor Axelbaum also performs research on hydrogen fire safety and combustion in microgravity, and is principal investigator of a combustion experiment that is being prepared for the International Space Station.

Selected Publications

Yi, F., Axelbaum, R.L. “Oxy-combustion of low-volatility liquid fuel with high water content” Energy and Fuels, 29(2), 1137-1142, 2015.

Krishnan, S., Kumfer, B. M., Wu, W., Li, J., Nehorai, A., and Axelbaum, R. L. “An Approach to Thermocouple Measurements That Reduces Uncertainties in High-Temperature Environments” Energy and Fuels, 29(5), 3446-3455, 2015.

Gopan, A., Kumfer, B. M., and Axelbaum, R. L. “Effect of operating pressure and fuel moisture on net plant efficiency of a staged, pressurized oxy-combustion power plant” International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 39, 390-396, 2015.
Zhang, X., Lengyel, M., and Axelbaum, R.L. “Nanostructured high-energy xLi2MnO3•(1-x)LiNi0.5Mn0.5O2 (0.3 ≤ x ≤ 0.6) cathode materials,” AIChE Journal, 60(2), 443-450, 2014.
Yi, F., Axelbaum, R.L., “Utilizing preferential vaporization to enhance the stability of spray combustion for high water content fuels” Combustion and Flame, 161, 2008-2014, 2014.
Selected Research

Title: Integrated Flue Gas Purification and Latent Heat Recovery for Pressurized Oxy-combustion
Role: Principal Investigator
Sponsor: DOE

Title: Development of advanced cathode materials for electric vehicle batteries
Role: Principal Investigator
Sponsor: X-Tend Energy

Title: Flame design, a novel approach to clean efficient diffusion flames
Role: Principal Investigator
Sponsor: NASA

Title: Combustion studies of high-water content fuels
Role: Principal Investigator
Sponsor: NSF

Title: Staged, high-pressure oxy-combustion technology: Development and scale up, Phase 2
Role: Principal Investigator
Sponsor: DOE

Contact Richard Axelbaum
Address 1 Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1180
City/St/Zip St. Louis, MO 63130

Brauer Hall, Room 3006

Phone (314) 935-7560
Fax (314) 935-5464
Email axelbaum@wustl.edu
Other Appt.

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Download CV (pdf)

PhD, University of California - Davis, 1988
MS, University of California - Davis, 1983
BS, Washington University in St. Louis, 1977

Washington University in St. Louis School of Engineering & Applied Science, Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering

Brauer Hall, CB 1180, 1 Brookings Drive, Saint Louis, MO, USA 63130
Phone: (314) 935-5548, Fax: (314) 935-7211

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