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KU Engineer to Explain Making of Biofuels at ‘Wild Science’ Event

Monday, January 5, 2009

LAWRENCE — There is no room for error when researchers create biofuels. For instance, no one would forgive the University of Kansas engineers, chemists and biologists manufacturing the new fuels if their products clogged up car engines when the temperature in Kansas falls to 4 degrees in January.

That is why biofuels — fuels made from renewable sources such as plant materials — must be tested rigorously, said Susan Williams, professor of chemical and petroleum engineering and director of KU’s Biodiesel Initiative.

“I can make a great fuel that’s inexpensive to produce, but if it doesn’t perform in your engine it won’t work,” Williams said. “We don’t have the luxury of mistakes. If you try to get people to switch and there are problems with their cars, your whole research effort will be for nothing.”

Williams will lead a discussion about KU’s efforts to create sustainable biofuels at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 7, at the Natural History Museum. The event is free and open to the public.

Her talk, “KU’s Biodiesel Initiative: Alternative Fuel for the Future,” is part of the museum’s monthly Wild Science series. Held the first Wednesday of each month, the series offers a chance for the public to ask questions directly to researchers in an informal setting. Coffee, hot chocolate and cookies will be served.

 Contact: Jen Humphrey , Natural History Museum, (785) 864-2344.


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