CAER, chemistry researchers awarded US Department of Energy grant to develop biofuel technology

Researchers at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) and the Department of Chemistry have received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to advance their innovative biofuels research.

The project is titled “Robust Engineered Catalysts for the Conversion of Waste Oleaginous Biomass Feedstocks to Fuel-like Hydrocarbons via Decarboxylation/Decarbonylation” and is funded by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE).

As part of the project, CAER will partner with Clariant Corp., Saola Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), to develop a robust engineered decarboxylation/decarbonylation (deCOx) catalyst.

Successful development of such a catalyst is a critical step in the scale-up of novel deCOx technology to produce renewable fuels from waste biomass feedstocks, or organic materials considered waste or byproducts.

“We believe this technology may provide an industrially-viable alternative to the production of renewable diesel that can compete with — or even improve on the economics and greenhouse gas reduction potential of — more commercially mature pathways,” said Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez, Ph.D., associate director of CAER’s Sustainable & Alternative Fuels (SAF) group, adjunct assistant professor of chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences and the project’s principal investigator.

Katherine Johnson

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