Release Date: April 17, 2008
Media Contact: Stephen King, External Relations
Phone: 306-585-5439
Mobile: 306-536-4312
Fax: 306-585-4997
University of Regina professors receive $600,000 for biodiesel and hydrogen production research

Three University of Regina professors have been awarded a total of just under $600,000 to work on two different but related projects designed to develop new methods of producing biodiesel and hydrogen fuel from renewable resources. Amy Veawab, Adisorn Aroonwilas and Raphael Idem, all professors in the U of R's Faculty of Engineering, have received three-year Strategic Project Grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the federal granting agency that funds research in the natural sciences and engineering.

Veawab and Aroonwilas' project involves using low-quality feedstock such as cooking oil and animal fat to produce biodiesel. By using these sources rather than high-quality and high-cost sources such as virgin vegetable oil, their work could develop a lower-cost biodiesel whose production and availability are not affected by crop-growing variables such as drought, frost, or poor harvest. Veawab and Aroonwila' funding totals $400,000 over three years.

Idem's research involves finding an economically viable way of producing hydrogen fuel from renewable and non-purified biomass sources. This process would involve using waste from biodiesel production as one of the feedstock materials, and would have the added environmental benefit of removing CO2 that already exists in the atmosphere. Idem's three-year Strategic Project Grant is valued at $197,000

"Dr. Veawab, Dr. Aroonwilas and Dr. Idem's work is yet another example of why the University of Regina is a world leader in energy and environment research," said David Gauthier, Vice-President (Research and International) at the University of Regina. "By building on the existing expertise at the U of R, this work could help reduce our dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels while providing important environmental and economic benefits for the province and for the country."

The NSERC Strategic Project Grant program supports high-quality university research that has the potential to produce significant economic, social industrial and environmental benefits for Canada. The program also fosters partnerships among university researchers, governments and industries to generate new knowledge and develop new expertise, which can then be transferred to different Canadian organizations.