Bala Subramaniam, professor and chair of chemical
and petroleum engineering and director of KU’s new Center for Environmentally
Beneficial Catalysis, holds a bottle of liquid acid as he speaks during
a press conference announcing the record-breaking federal grant that will
team KU scientists with those at Washington University in St. Louis and
the University of Iowa. Doug Koch/University
KU snares $17 million grant for environmental research center
A KU center whose mission is to develop environmentally friendly and
economically viable chemical processes for industry has been selected
to receive $17 million under the National Science Foundation Engineering
Research Centers Program.
The five-year grant is the largest single federal research award ever
received by a Kansas university. Additional funding streams and donated
facilities as a result of the award are expected to bring the total package
value to nearly $30 million.
The Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis is a multidisciplinary,
multi-university research center led by KU, with the University of Iowa
and Washington University in St. Louis serving as core partners.
Professor Bala Subramaniam of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum
Engineering is the CEBC director. Professor Daryle H. Busch of the Department
of Chemistry is the deputy director, while professors John Rosazza, University
of Iowa, and Milorad Dudukovic, Washington University, will serve as CEBC
associate directors at their institutions.
“This award is a testament to the University of Kansas’ commitment
to bring together technology and industry to produce tangible innovations
that benefit the public,” Chancellor Robert Hemenway said.
“The program will protect our environment and strengthen the economic
viability of corporations. It also will promote environmental stewardship
to K-12 students and create exceptional opportunities in engineering and
science for undergraduate and graduate students from diverse ethnic backgrounds.”
Catalysis is the acceleration of a chemical reaction through the presence
of a material — a catalyst — that is chemically unchanged
at the end of the reaction.
The CEBC also will develop opportunities for the next generation of engineers
The center will establish partnerships with educational institutions that
have high populations of Hispanic, African-American and Native American
students, such as Garden City Community College, Kansas City Kansas Community
College, Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, and the University
of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus.