New American Chemical Society Prized Science video focuses on ‘green gasoline’

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2010 — Green gasoline is plants in your tank, motor vehicle fuel made from corn, cornstalks, sugarcane, and other crops. It also is gasoline made with recipes that reduce the need for harsh, potentially toxic ingredients like hydrofluoric acid or sulfuric acid that are used at about 210 oil refineries worldwide. Now scientists have found an answer to a half-century quest for a way to make gasoline in exactly that kind of greener, more environmentally-friendly way.

That advance highlights the second episode of a new video series, Prized Science: How the Science Behind ACS Awards Impacts Your Life, from the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society. Rich with high-definition graphics and animations, and commentary suitable for classroom use and other audiences of students and non-scientists, the videos are available without charge at the Prized Science website, YouTube, iTunes and on DVD.

ACS encourages educators, schools, museums, science centers, news organizations, and others to embed links to Prized Science on their websites. Additional episodes in the series, which focuses on ACS’ 2010 award recipients, will be issued in November and December.

“Estimates suggest that more than 30,000 significant prizes — most for scientific or medical research — are awarded annually,” noted ACS President Joseph S. Francisco, Ph.D. “For many of them, the spotlight of news media publicity rightly focuses on the recipients. Often lost behind the headlines, is an explanation of how the science honored in the award impacts the everyday lives of people throughout the world. That is Prized Science’s goal, to give greater visibility to the science that won the prize. In doing so, Prized Science strives to give people who may have no special scientific knowledge, the opportunity to watch, listen, and discover how the chemistry behind ACS’ awards transforms life.”

The new video features research by Vincent D’Amico, Emiel van Broekhoven, Ph.D., and Juha Jakkula. They invented a new process for making alkylate, a key ingredient in clean-burning gasoline. Alkylate has a high octane rating and yet is low in sulfur, nitrogen, and substances that contribute to air pollution. The process reduces the need for use of potentially toxic substances, including up to 200-400 tanker-truck loads of sulfuric acid that a typical oil refinery would need to handle each month to make alkylate.

D’Amico is with Lummus Technology, Inc. in Bloomfield, N.J.; van Broekhoven is with Albemarle Corporation in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Jakkula is retired from Neste Oil in Espoo, Finland. They are the winners of the 2010 ACS Award for Affordable Green Chemistry.

Already available in Prized Science episodes No. 1:

  • “Are We All From Mars?” Featuring Richard Zare, Ph.D., winner of the 2010 Priestley Medal, highest honor bestowed by ACS. Zare is the Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor in Natural Science at Stanford University. The video highlights Zare’s work on the possibility that life existed on Mars and seeded life on Earth; in developing the technology that helped scientists decode the human genome; and in pioneering efforts to enlist nanoparticles in medicine

Prized Science episodes No. 3 and No. 4, scheduled for November and December:

  • “Who Shrunk the Chips?” Featuring Robert Miller, Ph.D., winner of the 2010 ACS Award for Chemistry of Materials, who helped develop materials that shrunk the size and boosted the power of computer chips.
  • “Taming the Toxic Tides” Featuring Michael Crimmins, Ph.D., winner of the Ernest Guenther Award in the Chemistry of Natural Products, whose research underpins efforts to develop treatments for a terrible form of food poisoning involving shellfish.

The ACS administers more than 60 national awards to honor accomplishments in chemistry and service to chemistry. The nomination process involves submission of forms, with winners selected by a committee consisting of ACS members who typically are technical experts in the nominee’s specific field of research.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 161,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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