With rising gas prices and a desire to lessen the impact of fossil fuel emissions as motivation, scientists are searching for new, cheaper sources of energy, including fuel made from living material, known as biofuel. While current sources of biofuel--such as ethanol made from corn--already exist, scientists like Steve Hutcheson at the University of Maryland are seeking other options that would not take away from the food supply. Find out more in this special report video.
Credit: NBC Learn, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and National Science Foundation
Algae fuel? It's entirely possible! Aerospace engineer Bill Roberts at North Carolina State University believes algae fuel will create an entirely new industry and thousands of new jobs. With support from NSF, Roberts and his team are genetically modifying a specific strain of algae to produce drop-in replacements for a range of transportation fuels. Find out more in this video.
Credit: National Science Foundation
The mission of the Division of Chemistry in NSF's Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences is to promote the health of academic chemistry and to enable basic research and education in the chemical sciences. The division supports research in all traditional areas of chemistry and in multidisciplinary fields that draw upon the chemical sciences.
NSF's Centers for Chemical Innovation (CCI) program supports research centers focused on major, long-term fundamental chemical research challenges. CCIs that address these challenges will produce transformative research, lead to innovation and attract broad scientific and public interest.
Rutgers University researchers have developed a technology that could overcome a major cost barrier to make clean-burning hydrogen fuel--a fuel that could replace expensive and environmentally harmful fossil fuels.
Cheaper, clean-energy technologies could be made possible due to the discovery that an important chemical reaction that generates hydrogen from water is effectively triggered by a nanoparticle composed of nickel and phosphorus, two inexpensive elements that are abundant on Earth.
July 21, 2014
Chemists develop new process for producing cleaner, cheaper diesel fuel
The Center for Enabling New Technologies Through Catalysis lives up to its name; new catalysts yield much more from carbon sources
Diesel--we know it best as the fuel that does the heavy lifting.
Typically, diesel fuel is made from crude oil, but scientists can make high-grade diesel from coal, natural gas, plants or even agricultural waste, using a process called Fischer-Tropsch, or "FT." Just about any carbon source is an option. FT Diesel is the ideal liquid transportation fuel for automobiles, trucks and jets. It's much cleaner burning than conventional diesel, and much more energy efficient than gasoline. But, FT Diesel is expensive to make and generates lots of waste.
With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and its Center for Enabling New Technologies Through Catalysis (CENTC), chemists around the United States are working together to improve the cost and energy efficiency of alternative fuels. CENTC scientists have invented and patented, and are bringing toward commercialization, catalysts that will convert light hydrocarbons into FT Diesel, improving the process, whether it's diesel made from traditional sources, such as oil, or alternative sources, such as biomass.
The research in this episode was supported by NSF awards #0650456, Center for Enabling New Technologies Through Catalysis, and #1205189, Center for Enabling New Technologies Through Catalysis (CENTC) Phase II Renewal.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.