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Soaring to Sustainability: Join the Sustainable Fuels Research Network


Georgia Southern University scientists and engineers are working to solve the complex and pressing problems of transitioning to sustainable fuel sources. Our Sustainable Fuels Research Network assembles the intellectual and technical talents of our faculty researchers and university resources to better engage with corporate partners interested in finding implementable solutions in sustainable fuel technology. Through these partnerships in innovation, we seek to find a better way forward to develop more efficient and sustainable fuel sources.

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Our Team

Our team spans two academic colleges – the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing and the College of Science and Mathematics – and boasts an array of theoretical and applied expertise relative to current investigations into sustainable fuels to include: biofuel sourcing and analytic testing, characterization and optimization of flexible fuel sources, fuel performance and emissions, synthetic gas production, bio additive manufacturing, transportation and shipping, polymeric materials and coatings, organic chemistry, physics and more. These established scholars are well-published in their area of expertise including specific publications related to a variety of areas in the sustainable fuels arena. Examples of these areas include functional coatings for improved storage and transportation, pyrolysis of vegetable oils and animal fats to produce new sustainable fuels, catalytic pyrolysis of pine sawdust and recyclable waste plastics, municipal solid waste gasification, removal of syngas impurities, advanced combustion strategies for alternative fuel sources, and experimental assessment for fuel performance and emissions.

Current members of the Research Network include:

Dr. Rafael Lopes Quirino, Professor of Organic Chemistry (Scientific Team Leader)
Biofuel preparation and catalyst development; Triglycerides; Torrefaction/Pyrolysis of woody biomass.

Dr. Kamran Kardel, Associate Professor of Manufacturing Engineering (Engineering Team Leader)
Bio Additive Manufacturing and Materials;

Dr. Prakash Bhoi, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Biochar/Syngas for jet fuels

Dr. Valentin Soloiu, Professor and Director of the Automotive and Aerospace Combustion Laboratories
SAF (Jet Fuel) Power Plant

Dr. W. Marshall Ming, Professor of Materials Science
Polymer science; functional polymeric materials and coatings

Dr. John C. DiCesare, Professor of Chemistry
Distillation of hydrocarbon mixtures; Molecularly Imprinted Polymers

Dr. Brian Vicek, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Department Chair

Dr. Max Durach, Associate Professor of Theoretical Physics
Electromagnetism of complex nanoscale materials and nanostructures

Dr. Brandon Quillian, Professor of Chemistry
Synthetic organic and organometallic chemistry; Moisture and oxygen sensitivity with highly-reactive molecules.

Dr. Heyri Sezer, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Li-Ion Batteries; Thermal runaway

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Our Facilities

Georgia Southern’s Sustainable Fuels Research Network boasts a network of state-of-the-art laboratories strategically positioned throughout the region. These dedicated facilities serve as hubs for advancing our research initiatives and fostering collaboration among researchers, industry partners, and stakeholders. These include:

TALON Cluster High Performance Computing Center: Computational Research Technical Support is a specialized area of IT Services to build and support a comprehensive program to advance computational research at Georgia Southern. That includes offering and supporting traditional high performance computing (HPC) systems, as well as systems for high throughput and data – intensive computing.

COSM Core Research Laboratory: The COSM Core Research Laboratory (CCRL) stands as an invaluable resource accessible to all faculty, staff, and students engaged in research endeavors at Georgia Southern. Our facility boasts a comprehensive suite of 14 cutting-edge scientific instruments meticulously curated to facilitate the collection of crucial research data.

Renewable Energy and Engines Laboratory: The Renewable Energy and Engines Laboratory (REEL) is equipped with state-of-the-art technology tailored for conducting groundbreaking studies focused on greenhouse gas reduction and climate change mitigation. Research endeavors within this esteemed lab have garnered support from prestigious entities such as the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Energy (DoE), National Science Foundation (NSF), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Clean Energy and Fuels Laboratory (CEFL): The Clean Energy and Fuels Laboratory (CEFL), located within Paulson Engineering Building, supports our campus’ scientific community with ample laboratory space, cutting-edge instruments and top-notch facilities to facilitate energy and fuel development and testing activities.

Chemistry Department: The Chemistry Department at Georgia Southern is home to a comprehensive array of instruments essential for catalyst synthesis and characterization. Among our cutting-edge equipment are multiple programmable ovens, a vacuum oven, muffle furnaces, a surface area analyzer (BET), single-crystal X-ray diffraction (XRD), powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD), a High-resolution Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) equipped with EDX and STEM attachments, a DXR micro-Raman spectrometer featuring a 532 nm excitation laser, a 400 MHz NMR spectrometer, GC-MS instrumentation, and a Thermogravimetric Analyzer (TGA).

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Engineering Team Contact:
Kamran Kardel, PhD
Associate Professor & Graduate Program Coordinator
Phone: (912) 478-8566

Scientific Team Contact:
Rafael Quirino, PhD
Professor Organic Chemistry
Phone: (912) 478-2345

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Last updated: 4/16/2024