Designing 3D-printed chemical reactors and merging science with community service

Jeremy Feaster

To his younger cousins, Jeremy’s description of his job as a chemical engineer sounded a lot like being a magician. That’s a bit of a stretch, but it can seem pretty magical to transform the air we breathe into everyday substances. As an accomplished researcher, Jeremy is happy to explain the science behind his work—no magic needed.

Jeremy, as part of the Engineering the Carbon Economy Director’s Initiative at LLNL, uses advanced manufacturing, 3D printing, and chemical engineering to help solve one of society’s biggest problems: reducing the amount of carbon in the air. By developing reactors that enable cutting-edge chemistry, compounds in the air can be repurposed as plastics, fertilizer, and other impactful applications.

The concept of impact has driven Jeremy’s personal and professional growth from a young age. Growing up in Charlotte, NC, Jeremy earned his BS in chemical and biomolecular engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2011. He then received his MS and PhD degrees in chemical engineering from Stanford University, defending his dissertation on electrochemical catalyst and method design under the tutelage of Professor Thomas F. Jaramillo. After receiving his Ph.D. from Stanford in 2018, Jeremy joined LLNL as a postdoctoral researcher and was promoted to Research Staff Scientist in 2020.

What attracted him to LLNL was the Lab’s mission-driven work: how can a team bridge cutting-edge research with industry-level commercialization to meet national and global security challenges? Jeremy was also intrigued that the Lab tackled a pressing issue in society—excess carbon in the atmosphere is a major contributor to climate change and energy security. Jeremy designed the first 3D-printed vapor-fed reactors for electrochemical CO2 conversion, allowing carbon to be transformed into useful energy sources, chemicals, and feedstock. His team’s science and technological work is an ideal example of how the Lab’s mission-driven research can align with personal passions.

Outside of the lab, Jeremy continues to explore influential opportunities. After completing his undergraduate degree, Jeremy wanted to ensure future generations gained access to elite educational opportunities. In 2012, he started the Jeremy T. Feaster Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose focus is to amplify a culture of “lift as you climb” for historically under-rerpesented students. Over the past 10 years, the Feaster Foundation awards scholarships around the nation to students doing community service, as well as mentors and supports young Black students who wish to start their own nonprofits. Additionally, Jeremy and his family – who worked together to secure $1.4 million dollars in scholarship offers so that Jeremy could attend college – work to provide high school and college students around the country with the knowledge to apply for college, seek a wide range of scholarships, and plan for their futures at the next stage of their educational journey.

Dr. Feaster approaches this balance of science and service not as two separate spaces, but as part of a one large mission to help others. He strives to make advances in technology to serve society and is committed to opening doors for under-represented students. As Jeremy says, “Is impact just having a high h-index, or is it being able to see the difference that you're making in other people's lives?”

Bubble Blurb

Designing 3D-printed chemical reactors and merging science with community service