Karl Kharas of Rentech (left), drove the company car fueled with green diesel to UNM to collaborate with Professor Abhaya Datye and Research Professor Hien Pham

Karl Kharas recently drove to Albuquerque using green diesel made from natural gas. He had just enough fuel to complete the roundtrip from Denver in an Audi sporting the logo, "Eureka! Diesel drives the future."

Kharas is a scientist who works at Rentech, a Colorado company that is developing a process to convert biomass to liquid fuels. The company's goal is to create sustainable domestic liquid fuel. His visit was to use UNM School of Engineering catalysis equipment in a lab headed by Abhaya Datye, Distinguished Regents Professor of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering and director of the Center for Microengineered Materials.

"Not that many places have equipment and expertise in this area," said Kharas. "Dr. Datye is internationally known and UNM's microscopy and catalysis characterization is superb."

Kharas and Datye have known each other for 20 years. Kharas says that he has seen five catalysts to market, and one was through collaborations with Datye.

Story by and media contact: Tamara Williams (505) 277-5859; e-mail: tamara@unm.edu