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NSF to Open $20M Shale Gas Fuel Research Center at Purdue

September 12, 2017
Image courtesy of NSF
Image courtesy of NSF

The National Science Foundation is providing $19.75 in funding over five years to support research on shale gas-derived fuel at the NSF Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources (CISTAR) at Purdue University’s West Lafayette, IN campus.

Led by Purdue and the University of Texas at Austin, the research partnership also includes the University of New Mexico, Northwestern University, and the University of Notre Dame. CISTAR, located at Purdue’s Discovery Park, will conduct research on portable, modular processing plants to develop light hydrocarbons from shale gas.

“Our main focus is to try and take these lighter hydrocarbon gases – the ethane, propane, butane and other gases – and convert them into liquid fuels closer to the well head with portable units,” said Joan Brennecke, professor of chemical engineering at UT Austin, in an article posted to the university’s website. “Because the entire process would happen at or near the natural gas well sites, we anticipate substantial benefits to the environment and local economies throughout the United States.”

As part of the modular processing system concept, the group of researchers at CISTAR have developed improvements on catalysts, separation processes, and reactor design, a Purdue press release said.

“We have a team of extraordinarily talented researchers focused on bringing to fruition new ideas that have the potential to convert a huge but still underutilized hydrocarbon resource into a responsible and efficient pathway to a sustainable energy future,” said Fabio Ribeiro, professor of chemical engineering at Purdue, in a statement.

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