Bussell, Seda get nearly $1M for research

Professors Mark Bussell (Chemistry), Takele Seda (Physics), Stephanie Brock (Wayne State University) and S. Ted Oyama (Virginia Tech/University of Tokyo) were awarded a $919,000 grant to investigate the fundamental properties of a new class of materials – nanoscale metal phosphides – for the removal of sulfur, nitrogen and oxygen impurities from petroleum and renewable bio-oil feedstocks.

The development of new catalysts is necessary to address the substantial impurity levels in these feedstocks, while meeting stringent environmental standards for production of ultralow sulfur transportation fuels and future renewable fuels. Of the grant total, $319,000 will support the research of the WWU faculty members involved in the project.

As the world works to wean itself from crude oil to meet our energy needs, it is critical that we make the most efficient use of petroleum-based transportation fuels and increase our use of renewable biofuels,” Bussell said. “To do so, better technologies are needed for removing sulfur, nitrogen and oxygen impurities from fuel feedstocks to make fuels as clean-burning as possible. Our research addresses this problem by developing better catalysts that produce cleaner-burning fuels.”

This collaborative project involves extensive participation of undergraduate and master’s-level students in hands-on research in cutting-edge fields. AMSEC was established in 2007 with the mission to educate students in materials science, support interdisciplinary research, and enhance regional industry competitiveness and innovation. AMSEC brings together faculty and students from Western’s Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Geology, Mathematics and Physics departments to facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations and synergistic solutions to complex, multifaceted problems.