Shah, associate research professor of the University
of Kentucky Consortium for Fossil Fuel Science, prepares
a model powered by a fuel cell that runs on stored
by George Lewis
Gerald Huffman, director of the consortium, said that
recent research indicates that C1 chemistry will soon
be able to produce ultra-clean gasoline and diesel
fuel from coal and natural gas at a price per gallon
that is competitive with the cost of transportation
fuel produced from oil.
Ky. (Nov. 18, 2002) -- Research at the University of Kentucky is hastening
the day when transportation vehicles operate cleanly
and more efficiently, and oil instability and rising
gasoline prices are no longer recurring themes of
everyday American life.
Reaching a milestone in that research today, the
UK Consortium for Fossil Fuel Science announced a
new $5.7 million research contract awarded by the
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Fossil
Energy, through the National Energy Technology Laboratory.
The contract will enable the consortium to continue
research on C1 chemistry, which refers to the conversion
of natural gas and synthesis gas produced from coal
into clean, high-quality gasoline, diesel fuel, jet
fuel, and hydrogen, which will be used in vehicles
of the future that will be powered by fuel cells.
Addressing the gathering at the news conference,
UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. cited the strong support
of the entire Kentucky congressional delegation in
acquisition of the contract, particularly Sen. Mitch
McConnell, Sen. Jim Bunning, Congressman Ernie Fletcher
and Congressman Hal Rogers.
UK Professor Gerald Huffman, director of the consortium,
said that recent research indicates that C1 chemistry
will soon be able to produce ultra-clean gasoline
and diesel fuel from coal and natural gas at a price
per gallon that is competitive with the cost of transportation
fuel produced from oil. Commercialization of this
technology in the United States should begin within
the next five to 10 years, he said. This could not
only produce a tremendous economic boom in coal-producing
states, but also improve the nation's security by
relieving America's dependence on oil imports from
the Middle East, he said.
Representing the DOE at today's news conference,
John Winslow, manager of the U.S. Department of Energy
Natural Energy Testing Lab in Pittsburgh, Penn., spoke
of the significance of the grant and the research
that will result.
"Our nation's steadily increasing reliance on
imported oil -- both crude and finished product --
makes it very important to utilize and diversify our
domestic resources to the greatest extent possible,
and this includes coal. We need to do this until we
reach that 'holy grail,' so to speak, or that ultimate
goal of producing hydrogen from water."
Powering cars and trucks with fuel cells is desirable
because they use pure hydrogen as fuel and produce
only clean water as emissions.
The consortium is developing C1 chemistry processes
to produce pure hydrogen from natural gas or from
liquid fuels produced from coal. In addition to pure
hydrogen, carbon nanotubes are produced as a valuable
UK leads the consortium, which is comprised of faculty
and students from five universities who are working
on common goals in fossil energy science. The other
consortium members are West Virginia and Auburn universities
and the universities of Pittsburgh and Utah. Those
schools will share the grant money with UK.