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BASF Catalysis Research supports ‘green’ research initiatives at Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science


BASF Catalysis Research has made a three-year research commitment of $600,000 to the Earth and Environmental Engineering Department of Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science for graduate and post-doctoral studies into environmentally-benign technologies utilizing heterogeneous catalysts.

The program will support the research of four Columbia students exploring promising areas of renewable energy, pollution control and catalysts for the hydrogen economy.

“The program is directed toward ‘green/sustainable’ technology and pollution abatement – issues that are of great importance to the world, to Columbia and to BASF,” explains BASF scientist Robert Farrauto, Ph.D. “Environmental technologies are a significant portion of BASF’s business, especially as they relate to emissions reduction from autos, trucks, buses and other vehicles and devices powered by internal combustion engines.”

The hydrogen economy and fuel cells also hold great promise for decreasing our need for fossil fuels,” said Farrauto. A research fellow in Hydrogen and Fuel Cells at BASF Catalysis Research in Iselin, New Jersey, Farrauto is also an adjunct professor in the Earth and Environmental Engineering Department at Columbia University in New York.

Columbia Professor Marco Castaldi of the Earth and Engineering Department will jointly supervise the research efforts. Potential research topics include: “Catalytic Reforming of Biofuels to Hydrogen,” Conversion of Greenhouse (e.g. Landfill gases) Gases to Useful Chemicals and Fuels,” and “Catalytic Issues Related to Pollution Abatement from Diesel Combustion Engines.”

The program offers participating graduate and postdoctoral students an opportunity to take basic research concepts into a production environment, and publish their findings in professional journals. Student researchers will interact with scientists at BASF Catalysis Research Centers in both Iselin, New Jersey and Ludwigshafen, Germany, which is also the location of BASF’s global headquarters.

“Alternative energy and ‘green’ technology are very important to students,” said Farrauto. “There is a growing, urgent realization that we simply cannot continue to increase our energy consumption habits and ignore potential impacts to climate change. Columbia and its students want to do something about it. So does BASF.”
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