A project from The University of New Mexico has been selected for funding under a U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office interagency agreement with the Minority Serving Institution STEM Research & Development Consortium.

Abhaya Datye, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, is leading the $250,000 project in the area of accelerating catalyst development for biofuel production. Within the Chemical Catalysis for Bioenergy Consortium, this topic focuses on high-impact technology development for catalytic conversion technologies with emphasis on liquid transportation fuels, such as sustainable aviation fuel, diesel and marine fuels, and their co-products or intermediaries.

For this project, the team will develop a novel catalytic approach for upgrading biomass-derived ethanol for sustainable aviation fuel. Utilizing cutting-edge characterization techniques, the project aims to show how novel, single-atom catalysts can be leveraged to overcome catalyst deactivation challenges.

This work will provide UNM researchers opportunities to collaborate with Department of Energy national laboratory partners working on similar challenges in ChemCatBio. This project is part of Department of Energy’s interagency agreement to reduce barriers to entry for minority serving institutions and increase research partnerships.

The Minority Serving Institution STEM Research & Development Consortium is a nonprofit member group of over 70 minority-serving institutions formed under a cooperative agreement by the U.S. Army in 2014. The consortium facilitates basic, applied and advanced research awards from federal agencies through a limited competition contracting vehicle. Through its agreement with the Minority Serving Institution STEM Research & Development Consortium, the Bioenergy Technologies Office has broadened its pool of participants and have provided $1 million of funding in fiscal year 2022 to non-traditional, emerging and historically underfunded investigators from minority-serving institutions.