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Iowa State researchers looking for catalyst that allows plants to produce hydrocarbons
Date:10/1/2009

ngineer a catalyst that creates the biological hydrocarbons.

Nikolau said the current project will not address which plants or algae are the best producers of biological hydrocarbons or how the biological process can best be exploited. He said those studies would build on the discoveries of the current project.

But can plants directly produce hydrocarbons for biofuels? Is that too good to be true?

Shanks said the research could lead to technologies that transform how liquid fuels are produced.

And that's the kind of project the science foundation's Office of Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation is supporting.

According to the foundation, the office's goal is to support "transformative opportunities potentially leading to: new research areas ; new industries or capabilities that result in a leadership position for the country; and/or significant progress on a recognized national need or grand challenge."

A new, sustainable source of hydrocarbons could lead to all of that: "The production of renewable hydrocarbons that would integrate directly into the existing fossil-carbon infrastructure would represent an important advance in biofuels technology," the researchers wrote in their project proposal. "Transforming this existing industry to a bio-based carbon feed-source is a grand challenge that will need to integrate unique and proficient biological solutions with new engineering efficiencies."


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Contact: Jackie Shanks
jshanks@iastate.edu
515-294-4828
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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