VMI Project Wins Science Foundation Grant
Maj. Tim Moore inspects a piece of equipment that will be used to test efficiency and safety of biofuels. -- VMI Photo by Julie Rivera.
LEXINGTON, Va., Aug. 23, 2012 –A grant of $141,457 awarded to Virginia Military Institute by the National Science Foundation will complete a lab designed to research sustainable clean energy and quality fuels, including a “super” biomass under development at VMI expected to produce low emissions energy and high quality biofuel.
The Major Research Instrumentation Grant will fund purchase of two pieces of equipment: an elemental determinator, which analyzes organic material, such as a biofuel, to determine how much carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur, and oxygen it contains, and a portable emissions analyzer, which analyzes emissions that come from burning the organic material. The equipment will be used in a new lab being installed for the VMI-CLEAR – Clean Energy and Air Resources– research program.
“The CLEAR project has evolved into a program that looks at organic alternative energy sources that are bioengineered in the lab,” said Maj. Tim Moore, assistant professor of civil engineering. “So we’re looking at engineering plants to create energy in specific ways that allow them to not pollute the environment.”
VMI faculty working with Moore on the project are Maj. Anne Alerding, biology, and Maj. Mary Beth Pennington, English and fine arts.
According to the NSF, 844 proposals were considered. VMI’s proposal was one of 175 receiving grants. Last year, the project received a grant for $86,410 from VMI’s Jackson-Hope Fund, a $40,000 grant from the Dominion Foundation through its Dominion Higher Education Partnership, and a renewable $20,000 Jeffress Memorial Trust Award.
The CLEAR lab is expected to be operational later this fall.