Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OU Research Could Boost Usage of "Super Gas"

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OU Research Could Boost Usage of "Super Gas"

Article excerpt

NORMAN -- Cars and trucks powered by clean-burning natural gas could become a more common sight on America's highways, thanks to a new process developed by researchers at the University of Oklahoma.

The procedure, developed over the past three years by scientists at OU's Institute for Gas Utilization Technologies, blends methane from natural gas with heavier fuels, such as butane and propane, to create a fuel that is easier to transport than natural gas but shares many of its qualities.

"We are excited about it," said Richard Mallinson, a chemical engineering professor and director of the institute. "We will see a bigger infusion of natural gas vehicles. Technically, I don't see any barriers."

The research project, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, has been confined to the laboratory. But Mallinson said he and co- researchers Jeffrey Harwell and Kenneth Starling are talking with industrial partners -- including Chrysler Corp. -- to convert vehicles and test their new "super gas."

"In order to transfer the technology, we need to have industry involved to make the right choices," he said.

Efforts to develop natural gas as a transportation fuel have been only marginally successful. Both compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas possess properties that limit their use as an alternative to gasoline.

"There are problems with it, more handling problems," Mall-inson said. …

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