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A breakthrough in sustainable energy

While biodiesel is environmentally safe and can be used as a blend in existing engines, its use has been limited by the biodiesel industry's inability to produce a consistently high-quality, low-cost fuel for large-scale use. That's about to change, thanks to a critical breakthrough by a dynamic research team at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Engineering.

Professors André Tremblay and Marc Dubé, along with doctoral researcher Peigang Cao, have designed an innovative membrane reactor technology (which combines reaction with separation to produce more of a desired substance) that produces high-quality, clean-burning biodiesel suitable for commercial development.

"I'm very fortunate to have had two supervisors," says Cao of his collaboration with professors Tremblay and Dubé. "Together, we've come up with a really unique way to produce clean, environmentally sustainable biodiesel fuel." Cao, who worked on environmental issues for the power industry in his native China before coming to the University of Ottawa, is planning a career in clean and renewable energy after completing his doctorate this spring.