Madhav Ghanta, University of Kansas graduate student, will compete against students from around the world in the fourth annual Global Venture Challenge at Oak Ridge National Laboratory on March 24. Cash prizes will be awarded for the most innovative ideas for addressing energy and security issues.
Ghanta won a travel scholarship to advance to the semi-final round of the competition based on his research with Profs. Bala Subramaniam and Daryle Busch at the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis, or CEBC. In collaboration with Hyun-Jin Lee, a postdoc in the lab, these researchers are developing a greener, more energy efficient process for making ethylene oxide, a high-volume chemical intermediate used to make anti-freeze, plastic bottles, sports gear, detergents and paints. This alternative process has the potential to radically lower the environmental footprint, reduce the consumption of petroleum, and lower the production costs of ethylene oxide manufacturing.
More technical information may be found in these publications:
1. Lee, H-J.; Shi, T-P.; Busch, D.H.; Subramaniam, B. "A Greener, Pressure Intensified Propylene Epoxidation Process with Facile Product Separation," Chemical Engineering Science 2007 62 7282-7289.
2. Lee, H-J.; Ghanta, M.; Busch, D.H.; Subramaniam, B. "Toward a CO2-Free Ethylene Oxide Process: Homogeneous Ethylene Epoxidation in Gas-Expanded Liquids," Chem. Eng. Sci. 2010 65:1 128-134.