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Meeting the Catalysis Challenge in Aviation Fuels
by John Holladay

Aviation Fuels

While aviation only accounts for about 2 percent of our energy use, it has received lots of attention for its contributions to greenhouse gas—3 percent of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions and 2-14 percent of anthropogenic induced warming from the co-emission of NOX SO2 and black carbon and formation of aircraft vapor trails. Over the years the aviation industry has made great strides in improving energy efficiency. Today's jet aircraft are greater than 70 percent more fuel-efficient than early jets of the 1960s, like the Comet 4, and can average as high as 100 passenger miles per gallon. To reduce greenhouse gases further, there are additional strides in efficiency to be made, but at the same time we are working with industry to provide alternative, low-carbon, renewable fuels that can be used in commercial aviation. Read more.

Catalysis Process for Producing Propylene Glycol Recognized

PNNL and partner Archer Daniels Midland among five finalists for Kirkpatrick Award

Propylene Glycol When you combine unique catalysis capabilities with solid R&D expertise, excellent industrial contacts, and plenty of hard work, great things happen. Take, for example, the team of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) chemical engineers and scientists who developed propylene glycol from renewable sources (PGRS), a catalytic process that offers an environmentally friendly, commercially viable method for converting plant-based, seed-oil-derived glycerol, sugars, or sugar alcohols to propylene glycol. Read more.

90 Seconds of Discovery:

Frustrated Lewis Pairs research combines theory and experiment

90 seconds of DiscoveryFrom biofuels to ammonia, a variety of valuable chemicals depend on the efficient catalytic activation of hydrogen. At PNNL, we want to contribute to the development of the next generation of efficient hydrogen-activating catalysts. Our approach is to better understand how these reactions work and then control their environment. Enter frustrated Lewis pairs. Conventional wisdom says only metals can activate hydrogen, and non-metals such as Lewis pairs should not. But they do, and nobody really knows why. Watch the video.

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