GT Scholar helps develop process to reduce natural resources needed in fuel production

Turning crude oil into fuel and other products requires a distillation process that uses enormous amounts of energy and water. But a Georgia Tech research team that includes GRA Eminent Scholar Rampi Ramprasad may well revolutionize that process: They’ve formulated a new kind of polymer membrane to separate desirable compounds from undesirable ones at the molecular level. The filtration could replace the boiling and cooling process that’s now part of distillation — an approach that accounts for 1% of all of the energy used in the world. With Ramprasad’s expertise and guidance, the team has also created artificial intelligence tools to predict how well different versions of the newly engineered membranes will work, thus speeding development of new membranes for other purposes. Their findings were published in the Oct. 16 edition of Nature Materials. Above: Ramprasad (left) with Georgia Tech research team members Ryan Lively and M.G. Finn. (Photo by Candler Hobbs.) A good story on a big invention >See the journal article in Nature Materials >