Improving Ethanol Efficiency

Cindy Zimmerman

LSUResearchers at Louisiana State University are among those hard at work to find ways to “make ethanol fuel an efficient reality.”

According to an LSU release, James Spivey, McLaurin Shivers professor of chemical engineering at LSU, and Challa Kumar, group leader of nanofabrication at LSU’s Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices are working on the project withClemson University and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, with the help of $2.9 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and its cost-sharing partner, Conoco-Phillips.

“We’re working with our project partners to produce ethanol from a coal-derived syngas, a mixture of primarily carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The United States has tremendous reserves of coal, but converting it to affordable, clean fuels is a challenge – one that we are addressing in this DOE-funded project,” said Spivey. “Because ethanol is a liquid, it can be more easily distributed to the end user than gaseous hydrogen. It can be converted into a hydrogen-rich gas at the point of use, such as a fuel cell. The net result is clean energy produced from a domestic resource.”

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