Production of polyoxymethylene dimethyl ethers (OME) from sustainable feedstocks
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
- Grant type: Collaborative Research and Development Grants
- Year: 2019/20
- Total Funding: $162,000
University of Toronto
One of the Grand Challenges faced by Canadian energy and petrochemical industry is the need of large scale, commercially deployable technology for synthesizing renewable liquid energy carriers. Through this project, researchers from a broad discipline across the Universities, North-American National Laboratories, and Suncor join forces in developing catalytic technology for the production of oxymethylene ethers (OME) with three to eight monomer units from sustainable sources as direct blend-able and market-ready next generation fuel carriers. Adapting a multidisciplinary approach that integrates the discovery of new materials, characterizations, chemical kinetic tuning, reaction engineering, and process technology, the project will generate new knowledge on catalytic rate manipulation, finding ways to create C-O bond linkages which transform biomass derived syngas into long chain ethers, suitable for direct blending with diesel fuel. This pursuit requires targeting both the material chemistry and reaction engineering questions, that seek to direct the transfer of electrons, by creating highly specialized catalytically active sites and controlling their proximity. Together with microchemical reaction engineering technology, which intensifies the heat and mass transport, the goal is to demonstrate a continuous process for the production of oxymethylene ethers. Incorporating in this multidisciplinary research program is a comprehensive leadership and professional training module that places a strong emphasis in developing the technical and leadership competency of highly qualified personnel (HQP), with broad spectrum of skill-sets and experience at multi-institutions, through the direct interaction with industry and opportunity to physically work at world class research institutions through direct interaction with our collaborators. The personnel with these technical and professional competencies are very much sought after in the emerging Canadian green energy and chemical industries.