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New Catalysts for Green Diesel

A new economical and efficient catalyst for upgrading renewable feedstocks to green diesel has been created.  Green diesel, produced by converting renewable feedstocks like vegetable oil, animal fats, and algae, has a chemical composition very similar to that of petroleum-based diesel, but burns cleaner.  Researchers investigated the detailed reaction pathways that enable the conversion.  They synthesized iron nanoparticles supported on mesoporous silica nanomaterials.

Studying Complex Structures in the Blink of an Eye

The first solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (SSNMR) spectroscopy measurements under magic angle spinning at an unprecedented 100,000 rotations per second have been reported.  SSNMR is a researcher’s equivalent to MRI imaging in medicine.  For solid materials, the faster the sample spins the narrower the lines in the data which enables new insights in materials.  Ultrafast spinning occurs at frequencies of 100 kilohertz (or faster), meaning in the time it takes you to blink it will have spun 35,000 times.

Grace under Fire: Stoic Nanorods

If nanostructures were authors, cadmium selenide (CdSe) nanorods would be Hemingway.  Like him, they can endure the heat (up to 662 °F for long periods of time) and don’t break down (in the presence of oxygen or oxygen-like molecules).  CdSe nanorods are one of the II-VI semiconductor nanostructures that are used in various energy conversion applications, including photocatalysis.  Using this material, solar energy can be transformed into hydrogen fuel.


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