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LSU professors work to improve efficiency of ethanol fuel
Date:8/13/2007

BATON ROUGE Lowering fuel emission levels is a topic facing constant scrutiny by the global public. Rising gas costs, environmental concerns and conflicts in oil-producing areas have made consumers, corporations and researchers more than curious about the potential of alternative, or green, fuels, such as ethanol.

James Spivey, McLaurin Shivers professor of chemical engineering at LSU, and Challa Kumar, group leader of nanofabrication at LSUs Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices, or CAMD, are working diligently with partners from across the nation to make ethanol fuel an efficient reality.

Together with Clemson University and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, the researchers received $2.9 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, or DOE, and its cost-sharing partner, Conoco-Phillips, the third-largest integrated energy company in the nation.

Were working with our project partners to produce ethanol from a coal-derived syngas, a mixture of primarily carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The United States has tremendous reserves of coal, but converting it to affordable, clean fuels is a challenge one that we are addressing in this DOE-funded project, said Spivey. Because ethanol is a liquid, it can be more easily distributed to the end user than gaseous hydrogen. It can be converted into a hydrogen-rich gas at the point of use, such as a fuel cell. The net result is clean energy produced from a domestic resource.

James Goodwin, chairman of the chemical and biomolecular engineering department at Clemson, and David Bruce, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Clemson, are using advanced computational methods to identify new catalysts and test them with techniques such as isotopic labeling.

LSU doctoral students Femi Egbebi and Nachal Subramanian are carrying out research with Spivey in the preparation and testing of these catalysts, determining which ones produce the desired results.
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Contact: Ashley Berthelot
aberth4@lsu.edu
225-578-3870
Louisiana State University
Source:Eurekalert

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