Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Joseph Tang Rose Hills

Effects of catalyst supports on hydrogenation kinetics of 2,5-dimethylfuran

There is a growing need for the development of a clean, sustainable energy supply from renewable sources. Among the many options currently under investigation, a promising route involves the conversion of plant-based biomass into biofuels. In order for this process to be viable at an industrial scale, one of the steps that must be optimized is the conversion of biomass-derived chemicals into products that can be used as additives to existing fuels such as gasoline or diesel. In particular, the optimization of the hydrodeoxygenation of intermediate platform molecules is crucial in efficiently generating a product with high energy content that can be easily mixed with existing fuels and effectively incorporated into the worldwide fuels supply. My research project will focus on investigating the kinetics of the hydrodeoxygenation reaction by determining the effect of reaction conditions and different heterogeneous catalyst systems on the hydrodeoxygenation of model compounds in order to better understand the chemistry and kinetics of reactions involving biomass-derived furanic compounds of varying complexity.

Message To Sponsor

I am very grateful for the opportunity that the Rose Hills Foundation has given me through the SURF/Rose Hills fellowship to continue working on biofuels research at the Energy Biosciences Institute. Through this generous gift, I will be able to continue developing my laboratory skills, gain a deeper understanding of the research process, and hopefully provide a contribution to improving biofuels production. I would like to express my sincere thanks to both my graduate student mentor, Lin Louie, and my faculty mentor, Professor Alexis Bell, for their support and mentorship.
Major: Chemical Engineering, Energy Engineering (Minor)
Mentor: Alexis T. Bell, Chemical Engineering
Sponsor: Rose Hills
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