Héctor Camareno Ojeda, a chemical engineering student from the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez, recently won second place in the research poster competition at the national American Institute for Chemical Engineers (AIChE) conference in Nashville, TN, this November.
Héctor participated in last summer’s NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates program at the University of Kansas. He worked with Professor Bala Subramaniam and postdoctoral researcher, Jack Ford, at the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis (CEBC). His research at CEBC won second place in the catalysis and reaction engineering category.
The overall goal of the research project is to convert renewable, biologically-derived oils into fuels. These bio-oils could one day serve as a feedstock for fuels, but significant challenges must first be overcome. For example, high levels of oxygen in bio-oils make them viscous and unstable at high temperatures.
“My project focused on how to remove oxygen from bio-oils,” said Héctor. He studied how to remove the oxygen, in the form of water, by treating bio-oils with a special catalyst at mild pressures in supercritical reaction conditions.
An invention disclosure was filed based on Héctor’s research.
“This research project is progressing well,” said Professor Subramaniam. “Jack Ford presented an excellent update of the results at the Nashville meeting and a new postdoc (Haijun Wan) has joined to investigate more substrates.”
Héctor was one of 20 CEBC researchers to participate in the national meeting.