|Student/faculty research garners American Chemical Society award
RELEASED: Dec. 9, 2004
DANVILLE, KYBrian Grieb, a Centre sophomore from Louisville, won first place at a regional meeting of the American Chemical Society for his presentation on research that he did last summer with Joe Workman, associate professor of chemistry at the College.
The award from the Southeastern Regional ACS was given for undergraduate research in inorganic or bioinorganic chemistry and was based on work that Grieb and Workman did in the field of "green" chemistry.
The two used a water-based method to remove the pollutant sulfur from crude oil as it is processed into gasoline. Sulfur in gasoline is a major source of air pollution, and the way it is currently removed will not meet new environmental regulations.
"There are few desulfurization methods that are environmentally friendly," explains Grieb. "The most effective way to remove the sulfur is to use a strong acid. Our method is water-based, using hydrogen peroxide that you might have in a first-aid kit and a metal catalyst."
The process involves oxidation, which, Grieb explains, simply means bonding oxygen to the sulfur atom as a way to seperate the sulfur from the gasoline.
The next steps in their desulfurization research would be to see if different metals might improve the reaction and also to try it on a scale larger than in a test tube.
"We've shown that yes, it can be done on a micro scale," says Grieb. "Maybe our results will spur others to consider green methods for industry."
He enjoyed his first experience with science research, and notes that he was especially pleased to be invited when he was just a freshman to work with a professor.
Although he hasn't yet declared a major, Grieb says he is leaning toward chemistry or biochemistry and molecular biology. As for the future, he plans on medical school and perhaps a specialty in pediatric surgery.
Outside of academics, Grieb is a resident assistant and a member of the admission office's Colonel Corps. He also helped coach a team of 10-year-olds in soccer, a game he's played since he was four.
To see an abstract of Grieb's award-winning presentation, click here: http://students.centre.edu/bcgrie00/abstractNCUR.htm.
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