The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Hampton University's School of Engineering and Technology two seperated grants worth more than $400,000.
The DOE awarded HU $218,000 to develop an economically viable, iron-based catalyst to promote the commercial success of Fischer-Tropsch synthesis in the United States. Fischer-Tropsch synthesis is a process in which carbon monoxide and hydrogen, derived from fossil fuels, are converted into a wide variety of products for industrial use.
Using the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, clean, efficient fuels can be produced and a number of plants around the world are currently under construction or in the planning stages by major oil companies. Given the recent trends in energy prices, FTS is likely to be even more important to the production of clean fuels from coal. Coal-based FTS is important to the U.S. because of its vast coal reserves and because FTS represents the best means to make high-quality transportation fuels and liquids from coal.
However, there are two major barriers to the widespread use of FTS. The first is the severe attrition of iron-based catalysts, which can result in very poor process economics. The second is the production of non-selective product slate, which requires expensive downstream separation and processing.
The HU proposal, in collaboration with Louisiana State University and Clemson University, will address both of these barriers. "For the United States to remain competitive in the global market, energy independence has to play a key role," said Dr. Adeyinka Adeyiga, an HU professor of chemical engineering and principal investigator for the grant. "With the price of crude oil in the $60 plus per barrel range, this process is economically viable and competitive for production of energy from coal. I am indeed excited that this project is selected by DOE."
The DOE' National Nuclear Security Administration also awarded $215,000 to HU's Dr. Samuel P. Massie Chair of Excellence. The Dr. Samuel P. Massie Chair of Excellence program is a team of world-class scholars, researchers and educators, who advance research, enhance academics, promote partnerships, and affect outreach in the environmental sciences.
The Massie Chairs of Excellence Program is designed to assist its member institutions in producing top-level graduates in environmental disciplines and to produce groundbreaking environmental research.