Navigation Links
U of M discovery to improve efficiencies in fuel, chemical and pharmaceutical industries

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (06/28/2012) University of Minnesota engineering researchers are leading an international team that has made a major breakthrough in developing a catalyst used during chemical reactions in the production of gasoline, plastics, biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and other chemicals. The discovery could lead to major efficiencies and cost-savings in these multibillion-dollar industries.

The research is to be published in the June 29, 2012 issue of the leading scientific journal Science.

"The impact of this new discovery is enormous," said the team's lead researcher Michael Tsapatsis, a chemical engineering and materials science professor in the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering. "Every drop of gasoline we use needs a catalyst to change the oil molecules into usable gasoline during the refining process."

This research improves efficiencies by giving molecules fast access to the catalysts where the chemical reactions occur. Tsapatsis compared it to our use of freeways and side streets in our daily lives.

"It's faster and more efficient to use freeways to get where we want to go and exit to do our business compared to driving the side streets the entire way," he explained. "The catalysts used today are more like all side streets. Molecules move slowly and get stuck. The efficiencies of these new catalysts could lower the costs of gasoline and other products for all of us."

The research team built their prototype of the new catalyst using highly optimized ultra-thin zeolite nanosheets. They used a unique process to encourage growth of these nanosheets at 90-degree angles, similar to building a house of cards. The house-of-cards arrangement of the nanosheets makes the catalyst faster, more selective and more stable, but can be made at the same cost (or possibly cheaper) than traditional catalysts.

With faster catalysts available at no extra cost to the producer, production per manufacturing dollar will increase. With a higher output, it is conceivable that consumer costs will drop.

This new discovery builds upon previous discoveries at the University of Minnesota of ultra-thin zeolite nanosheets used as specialized molecular sieves for production of both renewable and fossil-based fuels and chemicals. These discoveries, licensed by the new Minnesota start-up company Argilex Technologies, are key components of the company's materials-based platform. The development of the new catalyst is complete, and the material is ready for customer testing.

"This breakthrough can have a major impact on both the conversion of natural gas to higher value chemicals and fuels, and on bio- and petroleum refiners," said Cesar Gonzalez, CEO of Argilex Technologies. "Using catalysts made by this novel approach, refiners will be able to obtain a higher yield of desirable products such as gasoline, diesel, ethylene and propylene. At Argilex, we envision this catalyst technology platform to become a key contributor to efficient use of natural resources and improved economics of the world's largest industries."

Researchers on the team are from around the globe. In addition to the University of Minnesota, researchers are from institutions in Tokyo, Abu Dhabi, Korea and Sweden.


Contact: Rhonda Zurn
University of Minnesota

Related biology technology :

1. Discovery of material with amazing properties
2. Dr. Victor Ambros and Dr. Gary Ruvkun Win 2012 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research for Discovery of MicroRNAs
3. Discovery Labs to Present AFECTAIR® Data at European Congress on Pediatric and Neonatal Ventilation
4. Discovery Labs Reports First Quarter 2012 Financial Results
5. Genomic Health and OncoMed Announce Strategic Alliance for Biomarker Research and Discovery Using Next Generation Sequencing
6. AnaptysBio Announces Antibody Discovery Partnership With Gilead Sciences
7. UWM discovery advances graphene-based electronics
8. Mars, Incorporated Answers Question: How Does Feeding People and Pets Nurture Science and Discovery? At TEDMED 2012
9. AlphaBio Centrix, LLC Announces a New Discovery for Programming Energetic Patches
10. Discovery in Nature elucidates immune cells in skin and supports novel vaccine approach
11. Thomson Reuters Cortellis Drives Drug Discovery and Development With Powerful New Web Services
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/23/2015)... ... November 23, 2015 , ... Shimadzu Corporation announces that it ... Unified Chromatography system. The award from R&D magazine recognizes Shimadzu’s Nexera UC system ... in the analytical and testing category. R&D Magazine chose the Nexera UC system ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... CAMBRIDGE, England and PISCATAWAY, ... -- Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre ... of the Cambridge Structural Database (CSD) and the ... suites for researchers worldwide: CSD-Discovery to support the ... of crystalline materials, and CSD-Enterprise, the complete set ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... WASHINGTON , Nov. 23, 2015 ... research firm to exclusively serve the ... of its global strategic report, "Mesenchymal ... Published November 2015, it presents 250 ... mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) industry. ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... 2015 Research and Markets ( ) has ... Service Type, Product/Technology, Application and Geography - Global forecast to ... --> --> The overall service laboratory market ... to USD 5.45 Billion by 2020, at a CAGR of ... --> The market in APAC is expected ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:11/18/2015)... 2015 --> ... market report titled  Gesture Recognition Market - Global Industry ... 2021. According to the report, the global gesture recognition market was valued ... reach US$29.1 bn by 2021, at a CAGR of ... America dominated the global gesture recognition market ...
(Date:11/16/2015)... , Nov 16, 2015  Synaptics Inc. ... human interface solutions, today announced expansion of its ... ™ touch controller and display driver integration ... of smartphones. These new TDDI products add to ... (HD resolution), TD4302 (WQHD resolution), and TD4322 (FHD ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... 2015  In this report, the biomarkers ... product, type, application, disease indication, and geography. ... are consumables, services, software. The type segments ... efficacy biomarkers, and validation biomarkers. The applications ... development, drug discovery and development, personalized medicine, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):