CU receives $3.6M DOE grant to produce magnesium for lightweight vehicle parts, syn fuel

By: InnovatioNews Friday September 20, 2013 0 comments Tags: Alan Weimar, Boulder, CU-Boulder, gasification, synthetic gasoline

University of Colorado logoBOULDER - A University of Colorado Boulder professor has been awarded a three-year, $3.6 million grant from the U.S. DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop a new process to produce magnesium that can be used to make lightweight vehicle parts, CU announced.

Professor Alan Weimar and his research team will use the grant to develop a new gasification process that uses concentrated solar power to produce both magnesium and synthesis gas -syngas - a precursor to synthetic gasoline.

The procedure includes a novel quenching, or cooling process, to enable a gas-to-solid magnesium phase change inside the reactor.

Weimer, a professor in CU-Boulder's chemical and biological engineering department, said current magnesium production is energy-intensive and produces substantial carbon emissions.

He said the new process could reduce emissions and lower costs in addition to creating a synthetic fuel.

The award to CU-Boulder was the largest by DOE ARPA-E for light metal research and development and the largest overall award to a single university, CU said.

"We anticipate that the demand for magnesium will increase as industry looks to produce lower-weight, higher-mileage vehicles," Weimer said.

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