Auburn University and Gas Technology Institute to collaborate on creation of liquid fuels

AUBURN – Auburn University’s Center for Bioenergy and Bioproducts has signed a research agreement with Gas Technology Institute to conduct collaborative research on the creation of liquid fuels using wood, energy crops like switchgrass, and other agricultural byproducts.

Officials with Auburn and GTI, a leading technology development organization serving the natural gas industry and energy markets, say a key component will be the design and construction on campus of a process research-scale gasification and gas-to-liquids system.

“It will give Auburn faculty and students the ability to study gasification of biomass into a gas rich in hydrogen and carbon monoxide that can then be catalytically converted into liquid fuels like diesel fuel, gasoline and aviation fuel,” said Steve Taylor, center director.

The laboratory equipment, which uses thermochemical conversion techniques, will be a unique feature of Auburn’s bioenergy and bioproducts research program and will distinguish it from those of other universities in the Southeast, which concentrate mainly on biochemical conversion approaches.

“We focus on the entire bioenergy and bioproduct system which includes agricultural and forestry production, harvesting, transportation, processing, energy or fuel production and final product testing,” Taylor said. “The primary emphasis of the center is to find ways to convert a wide range of forest and agricultural biomass feedstocks into a variety of products that include liquid fuels, electrical power, heat, specialty chemicals and other bio-based products.”

AU’s Center for Bioenergy and Bioproducts, part of the Natural Resources Management & Development Institute, was formed in 2006 to find cost-competitive alternatives to petroleum-based fuels and products.

GTI, a not-for-profit, research-and-development organization with national scope, is headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., and has a branch office in Birmingham, Ala. The organization is dedicated to meeting the nation’s energy and environmental challenges by developing technology-based solutions for consumers, industry, and government that are reliable, affordable, safe and clean. In its more than 65 years of operation, GTI has trained more than 55,000 energy professionals, has been awarded more than 1,000 patents, and has introduced into the marketplace nearly 500 products incorporating GTI-developed technology.

Contact: Steve Taylor, (334) 844-3534 (taylost@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)