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UDaily: UD's Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation invents new chemical detector

A team of researchers at the University of Delaware’s Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation (CCEI) recently invented the Quantitative Carbon Detector (QCD), a new device that identifies and quantifies chemical compounds in complex mixtures such as fuels, oils, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and food. This instrument will have a significant impact on the amount of time required for chemical analysis.

The center’s research focuses on discovering new technologies for the production of renewable fuels and chemicals using lignocellulosic (non-food) biomass as feedstocks.

A major challenge in the catalytic conversion of biomass to fuels is the molecular transformation that requires detailed and simultaneous characterization of complex mixtures containing hundreds of chemical compounds.

“The QCD is really the holy grail of chemical analysis,” says Paul J. Dauenhauer, associate professor of chemical engineering and materials science at the University of Minnesota and co-director of CCEI. “Utilizing this new technology allows us to focus our effort on catalytic science rather than tedious and expensive chemical calibrations.”