The American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund has awarded UTEP Assistant Professor Skye Fortier, Ph.D., a $110,000 grant to help develop a safer, low-energy chemical approach to convert petroleum feedstocks into value-added products that can be used for the manufacture of plastics and other petrochemicals.
“We recently developed an electron-rich titanium compound that exhibits reactivity toward a number of different molecules,” Fortier said. “It is so reactive it breaks tough hydrocarbon bonds within the molecule itself. Breaking bonds of this type is a major industrial challenge in the processing of petrochemical feedstocks. Lessons learned from our chemistry will allow us to develop inexpensive, nontoxic titanium-based compounds for the targeted, chemical activation of hydrocarbons in petroleum,” he said.
Additional research in the Fortier Laboratory focuses on the synthesis and study of highly reactive molecules and their applications toward achieving challenging chemical transformations.