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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Two Kansas EPSCoR Phase VI: Nanotechnology for Renewable Energy Researchers Receive NSF Award

  Kansas State University faculty members, Keith Hohn, the William H. Honstead Professor in Chemical Engineering, and Daniel Higgins, Professor and Department Head of Chemistry, who both worked on the Kansas EPSCoR Phase VI Nanotechnology for Renewable Energy initiative, have been awarded a National Science Foundation Chemical Catalysis Program grant of $450,000 over the next three years. Their proposed research, titled: SusChEM: Single Molecule Studies of Aldol Condensation on Heterogeneous Catalysts, will study the biomass-derived compound catalyst reactions of aldol condensation to better understand its catalyst properties. Converting biomass–derived compounds to renewable energy differs from the typical biomass extraction from hydrocarbon fuels, because, biomass–derived compounds are smaller and often require a catalytic reaction to build larger molecules. Hohn and Higgins will be observing light-emitting reactions occurring on various catalysts films at different locations and with different properties. By seeing which film produces the brightest light, they will be able to determine the type of catalytic sites are most active.  According to Hohn "… it will make clearer the importance of acid strength, base strength and proximity of acid and base sites on aldol condensation activity."

Information for this blog post was taken from the August 24, 2017 K-State News web story titled National Science Foundation grant funds closer look at catalytic processes written by Mary Rankin, 785-532-6715, mrankin@k-state.edu