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Graduate Student Ben Moskowitz wins the Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) Award

Graduate student Benjamin Moskowitz, working in the group of Professor Israel Wachs, has won the Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) Award. The award is for the proposed SCGSR research project, “Conversion of Bioethanol to Butadiene for Manufacture of Green Tires”, to be conducted at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The program duration will last 6 months, from February 2018 until August 2018, and the collaborating DOE laboratory sciebntist will be Dr. Zili Wu.

Background: "The SCGSR program provides supplemental funds for graduate awardees to conduct part of their thesis research at a host DOE laboratory/facility in collaboration with a DOE laboratory scientist within a defined award period. Collaborating DOE Laboratory Scientists may be from any of the participating DOE national laboratories/facilities. The award period for the proposed research project at DOE laboratories/facilities may range from 3 to 12 consecutive months."

Excerpt from abstract for NSF award for the overall project (not just this DOE award): "Many important chemicals in use today are derived from non-renewable petroleum resources. An important example is butadiene, which is converted to synthetic rubber used in manufacture of tires. One approach to make tire manufacture more sustainable is to find a non-petroleum substitute for butadiene. Ethanol produced from renewable cellulosic biofuel and bio-refinery operations is potentially an alternative feedstock for synthetic rubber production, if a suitable catalyst to drive the conversion of ethanol to butadiene can be found. This project will seek fundamental understanding of the interaction of ethanol with metal oxide catalyst surfaces at the molecular level to discover the best type of catalyst and the optimal conditions needed to convert ethanol to butadiene. The proposed research has the potential to lead to a viable pathway to produce synthetic rubber from sustainable feedstocks with a lower carbon footprint."

Relevance of Proposed Research Project to the DOE Office of Science Mission Areas: "In the proposed project, we will study H-containing surface intermediates on heterogeneous catalysts following reaction conditions by inelastic neutron scattering. Specifically, we will investigate Hx and CxHyOz species on the surface of Cu/ZnO-ZrO2/SiO2 catalysts following conversion of ethanol to 1,3-butadiene. We will make use of the VISION spectrometer at the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory."

 

September 2017

Ben, Israel and Anisha

Professor Israel Wachs (center) with Ph.D. students Ben Moskowitz (left) and Anisha Chakrabrti (right).

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