Floudas Group Charts Path to US Synfuels
Research from the group of Christodoulos Floudas, Stephen C. Macaleer ’63 Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, has demonstrated a path to the U.S. production of synthetic fuels by the Fischer-Tropsch process at costs comparable to current crude oil prices, and with a net reduction in CO2 emissions of as much as 50%. The key is an optimally-distributed network of plants sited throughout the U.S., with the use of switchgrass (in conjunction with coal and natural gas) to achieve the desired CO2 reductions. The work, involving current CBE Ph.D. student Josephine Elia and recent CBE graduate Richard Baliban *12, has been published in a series of scholarly articles over the past year, and forms the basis for a position paper which has been endorsed by the American Institute for Chemical Engineers (AIChE), written by Vern Weekman, the former director of Mobil’s Central Research Laboratories. For more information, see the story on the Princeton University homepage.