Discover New Water Role In Renewable Fuels Production

Sharon Kleyne Notes University of Oklahoma Research Breakthrough in Water Use. Power of Water® Leader Kleyne Lauds New Research in Water & Renewable Fuels Production.

Water Life Science® lifestyle teacher and inventor Sharon Kleyne has called attention to breakthrough research proving that water can be used in the production of renewable fuels.

Engineers at Oklahoma University collaborating with the University of Tulsa broke through in research to a new approach for water-assisted upgrading of the renewable chemical, furfural. The new method doubles and may even triple the rate of conversion. Daniel Resasco, professor in the School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering, Gallogly College of E ngineering said that “Energy and water are interconnected in the production of renewable fuels. Resasco pointed out that energy is required to extract, purify and distribute water, while water can be useful in producing energy. Water plays an important role as an environmentally-friendly solvent, replacing organic solvents. “The novelty,” said Resasco, “is that water can accelerate the rate of hydrogenation.”

Furfural, according to Power of Water® researcher Kleyne, is a biomass-derived compound that’s a valuable platform for the production of fuels and chemicals. Production always aims at hydrogenating the molecule to it can eventually be used in the chemical industry. This new research reveals that if the molecule contains an oxygenated group, hydrogenation then takes place at the liquid phase instead of the catalyst surface.

In typical refining in the chemical production of energy, water in the reactors is undesirable. In this scenario, water in a reacting system in which a catalytic reaction is taking place absorbs where the reaction should occur. This inhibits the rate of conversion.

Assistant Professor Bin Wang of the School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering, Gallogy College of Engineering, explained that “A group of chemical engineering graduate and undergraduate students participated in the discovery of water as a participant in the catalytic conversion of furfural without inhibiting the reaction and leading to a great rate enhancement in the process.”

Kleyne shared that if water is not present then all the steps in the reaction must occur on the catalyst surface. When water is present as a solvent, hydrogen is shuttled through the water molecule at a higher rate of reaction. With water present, the entire process requires a lower energy barrier to occur. It is also faster.

“This is the kind of research and education we need at every level of our education system,” said Water Life Science® lifestyle educator Kleyne. “Students and their teachers can make important discoveries that will lead to better water management and improved health.”


Water Life Science® and Dry Eye Solution® leader Kleyne has created an educational animated film, Dry Eye Animation of the Tear Film, that teaches the benefits of a Dry Eye Solution® that is in harmony with the solar system and the Power of Water®.