Washington, Jan 14 (ANI): University of Oklahoma researchers are developing a process that would help convert biomass into eco-friendly gasoline.
The research team led by Lance Lobban, director of the School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering are interested in how best to use catalysts (solids that accelerate certain chemical reactions) and chemical reactors to convert biomass into new fuels that would alleviate dependence on foreign oil.
"The best fuels are the ones that closely duplicate gasoline, diesel and jet fuel so automakers aren't forced to adapt to new fuels," said Lobban.
"That would add expense and slow adoption of new fuels. We have to design processes to convert biomass so the product works with the current system," he added.
Using the principles of molecular engineering, the researchers are identifying best fuel molecules that might be produced from biomass, and then they develop the catalysts to produce those molecules.
"An initial step we're investigating is pryolsis, which converts the solid biomass to liquids through a high-temperature, non-combustion process that breaks large, solid molecules into smaller liquid ones without breaking them up too far," said Lobban.
"The idea is to use a series of catalytic and separation steps to create the desired fuel molecules," he added.
As oil becomes more expensive, and as it becomes more important to limit greenhouse gas emissions ("green" gasoline would be essentially carbon-neutral since its source is plants, which remove CO2 from the atmosphere), alternate fuels such as these will become increasingly desirable. (ANI)